What’s Causing You To Grind Your Teeth?

A lot of people have dental problems caused by grinding their teeth. In fact, it’s estimated that almost one out of ten adults grind their teeth. There are many possible causes of grinding, although many people have trouble pinpointing why they grind their teeth.

Causes of teeth grinding include:

  • Stress, anxiety, or frustration
  • Hyperactivity disorders
  • Side effects to certain medications
  • Improper alignment of the teeth (underbites or overbites)
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea

How do I know if I’m grinding my teeth?

Some people find themselves grinding their teeth in moments of stress, intense focus, or high energy. However, you might also grind your teeth without realizing it or while you’re asleep. If this is the case, you may find that you frequently get dull headaches, earaches, or a sore jaw. Even if you have no symptoms, you might have been told by someone close to you that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, or your dentist might point it out to you during a routine visit.

How does grinding affect your teeth?

Grinding is very damaging to the teeth. It wears the teeth down over time, and can even cause the teeth to fracture or become loose. If this happens, you might need a dental procedure such as a crown fitting, root canal, or implant. Grinding your teeth is also bad for your jaw.

How can I stop grinding my teeth?

Physical tension caused by stress can cause or exacerbate grinding. If this is a problem for you, it’s a good idea to try training yourself to relax your muscles, especially your jaw, when you feel tense. Cutting back on alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can also help. Meditation, therapy, and exercise are other methods of relieving the tension that causes grinding.

If you chew on pencils or gum when you are nervous or stressed, try to break yourself of that habit. This makes you more likely to grind your teeth, and it’s healthiest for your teeth to chew only on food.

If your grinding is caused by the misalignment of your teeth or a condition such as sleep apnea, your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard that will keep you from grinding your teeth at night, and help you sleep better.

No matter the cause of the grinding, it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist to learn what tools can help you protect your teeth. Call us today to schedule a consultation!