Teeth grinding or jaw clenching is medically called as ‘Bruxism’. Anyone suffering from this condition may unconsciously clench their teeth at any time, whether they are awake (Awake Bruxism) or while sleeping (Sleep Bruxism). If it occurs on a regular basis, it can cause severe harm to your teeth and overall oral health.
Read here in detail all about bruxism and also learn ways to treat it.
Why do people grind teeth?
Here are the factors that usually cause people to grind their teeth:
Misaligned jaw or teeth: Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion) leads to teeth grinding.
Stress: Emotions such as anxiety, suppressed anger, frustration or tension, or even deep concentration result in Bruxism.
Age: Teeth grinding habit is commonly observed in young children and teens. This habit usually evades as they turn adults.
Personality Type: Aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personality type is more prone to grind or clench their teeth.
Lifestyle factors: Drinking too much alcohol or smoking, or having lots of caffeinated drinks and teas can lead to clenching and grinding teeth.
Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren't real may also result in Bruxism.
Health Disorders: Medical disorders such as Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Parkinson's disease, Dementia, Epilepsy, and Sleep-related disorders like Sleep Paralysis, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are known to cause Bruxism.
Medication Side Effects: Uncommon side effect of some antidepressants also increases the risk of Bruxism.
How to treat teeth grinding habit?
The following ways can help mitigate teeth grinding habit:
Wear a mouth guard or mouth splint – These dental appliances create a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth thereby balancing the pressure across your jawline. It also helps decrease the grinding noises.
Avoid stress - Relax and get a good night's sleep to avoid stress. Muscle-relaxation exercises like practicing yoga, deep breathing, getting a good body massage, reading before bedtime, and listening to music may also help in controlling stress-related teeth grinding.
Modify your lifestyle - Control alcohol intake, give up smoking and avoid using any recreational drugs such as cocaine to stay away from bruxism.
Get enrolled for therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Habit-reversal techniques to control bruxism.
If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, consult an Orthodontics at earliest. S/he will examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism and will accordingly plan your treatment program. Stay alert to stay healthy!
Dr Prasad is a General Physician with over 13 years of experience. He has special interest in the field of neurology and emergency medicine. He has written extensively on various health blogs and is here to guide and resolve your health concerns.