What causes Clenching (Teeth Grinding)?

Teeth Grinding

There’s a lot going on in your mouth when you’re asleep. so much that it can cause even an otherwise peaceful sleeper to grind her teeth. If you’ve ever awakened with a sore jaw or heard grinding coming from your partner’s side of the bed then you already know that getting an adequate night of sleep is difficult when you grind your teeth.

How to stop clenching jaw from stress and anxiety?

Many things can affect your sleep, but what causes teeth grinding specifically? The most common culprits are stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth or jaw issues, a dry mouth due to medication, or sleeping with a cold. Overuse of toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and caffeine withdrawal after drinking too much coffee or tea late in the day. Wearing retainers can also cause teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth when you’re awake, it could be because you wear braces; if so, make sure they fit correctly and consider changing from metal brackets to clear ones. In some cases, grinding is a sign of a sleep disorder like restless leg syndrome (RLS).

Lastly, there’s no way to know for sure unless your dentist assesses you while you’re sleeping. But bruxism—or involuntary teeth-grinding—is often hereditary. (If mommy grinds her teeth, chances are the baby will grow up doing it too.) Sleep apnea patients who use a CPAP machine can experience bruxism as well.

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Teeth Grinding is a Bad Habit

But it turns out grinding is more than a bad habit. If we aren’t careful, chronic teeth grinding can do serious damage to our teeth and gums. The enamel on our teeth wears down every time we clench our jaws during sleep. Eventually thinning out so that cavities form easily. Gums can also become sore or recede from excessive wear-and-tear on tooth enamel. Thankfully, there are ways to treat and prevent tooth grinding before you experience painful results. In most cases, professional treatment is unnecessary unless the teeth grinding has caused irreversible damage. so if you think you grind your teeth at night, visit your dentist first to rule out any underlying issues. Get him or her involved in treating bruxism and restoring damaged teeth. With a custom, a mouthguard might be all you need to end chronic bruxism once and for all.

Tip for lessening teeth grinding

For many people, though, grinding is much less of a problem when they get a good night’s rest. Practicing some good sleep hygiene habits can relax your mouth and lessen teeth grinding.

  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet; use eye shades or earplugs to muffle external noise if necessary.
  • Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol within six hours of bedtime; excessive caffeine has been linked with teeth grinding for some people.
  • Try to relax before you go to sleep—play soothing music, take a hot bath, and meditate. Anything that can ease anxiety before going to bed. For some people, mind-body practices like yoga may help relieve stress and induce relaxation.
  • Avoid watching TV or using your phone or tablet in bed; screen time stimulates brain activity instead of relaxing it for many people, making it harder to get to sleep.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep because of an overactive mind. Practice deep breathing exercises or focus on an object until your body is tired enough to rest.

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