Causes for Teeth Grinding

Bruxism – Do YOU have it?

Not many of us take teeth grinding as a serious matter; however, continuous teeth grinding can result in dental problems if not treated at its initial stage. The activity of teeth grinding or clenching is called bruxism. Many people across the globe are victims of this condition which has been positioned third in the sleep disorders’ list. Wikipedia describes bruxism as “an oral para-functional activity that occurs in most humans at some point in their lives.” Those who suffer from this disorder may, unintentionally or intentionally, indulge in teeth clenching at any time.

Detailed scientific and medical research in this field has concluded that even though it is a usual disorder, the associated side effects of bruxism are very minor or non-existent and mostly do not require any treatment. Nevertheless, it must not be assumed that the disorder will not have any damaging side effects. The Mayo Clinic personnel, in one of their articles, confirms that serious bruxism cases can ultimately result in headaches, dental problems, mouth disorders and many other issues.

Teeth Grinding Causes

Even though people of every age group commonly experience bruxism, experts from different fields offer various causes for its source. Where doctors mostly believe that anxiety and stress are the major contributors to this disorder, dentists opine that bruxism is caused by misalignment of the teeth. The different reasons of this disorder are classified and explained below.

Emotional and Mental Reasons

According to most doctors, the mental and emotional issues are considered to be the most common triggers of bruxism, specifically when the disorder has been linked to some serious health concerns. Few of the concerns include morning headaches, migraine headaches and depression. In the article, “Bruxism and Depression – Is there a Link” authored by Mike Kay, he says that several studies confirm the connection of this disorder with the state of mind of an individual. Bearing this in mind, let us explore a few of the major causes responsible for this disorder.

1. Anxiety and Stress – Everyone is aware of the fact that the modern lifestyle is fast-paced and extremely stressful at times. The pressure and stress are also visible in our mouth. Many people indulge in teeth grinding in the day but it is more common at night.

According to research, bruxism has become a method of alleviating stress for our body. The masticatory organ (combined term for teeth, tongue, jaw and facial muscles around the jaw) in humans has developed from being a weapon used to show aggression in stressful times (for instance, roaring to scare a predator off) to being a tool for emotional management. This change may explain the reason for people overeating under stress or biting fingernails under nervousness.

Bruxing is actually a subconscious effort by individuals to reduce their levels of stress. Even rats suffer from this disorder- research shows that bruxing reduced the impact of stress on them. If you have an anxiety problem, natural stress relief relaxation techniques in Treatments may help reduce it. For further information regarding Treatments, click here.

A very good example of bruxism being a result of stress is the recent worldwide financial crunch: Not only did it strike the economy; the direct impact of the situation was seen on human health. The Telegraph, in one of their article, state that teeth grinding has increased in the recession period, the major responsible cause of this being stress.

The situation in Israel can be considered as another example: The weakening economy and security of Israel in the past few years has seriously affected the people. Dentists have diagnosed a number of people having this disorder. Dentists did point out some patients of this disorder who had symptoms of bruxism but as the symptoms showed no signs of getting worse, the patients did not need any treatment. However, in stressful times, many patients reported of the condition returning and that they were experiencing strong teeth and mouth pains along with headaches every morning on waking up. They are at times, not even able to manage the problem and wake up with pains in their facial muscles.

2. Anger-expressed or suppressed – The researchers of the US-based Mayo Clinic found anger as one of the causes of teeth grinding. Those who feel angry and frustrated and so not express themselves may grind their teeth every day and night. People who express their anger towards other as aggression also subconsciously grind and clench their jaws. If you have bruxism because of this, you may be required to consult a counselor to control your anger in a proper way.

3. Discomfort – Feeling discomfort in your sleep because of bunched bed sheets or a full bladder looks like an easily solvable cause for bruxism, taking into account the success of an elaborate treatment wherein, sleepers were aroused when they started bruxing and asked to visit the toilet and remake their bed before dozing off again.

Other Causes – The researchers of the US-based Mayo Clinic highlighted a few reasons for the source of teeth grinding like an aggressive personality, tension, frustration, and tiredness, a competitive or hyperactive personality.

Physical Causes

The foundation of bruxism is linked to what is present in your body and what you choose to put in it. Below is a brief description of few commonly known physical causes of this disorder.

1. New Teeth Development – at the time when new teeth are growing in babies for the first time and older children are developing adult teeth, they may brux during sleep as a result of the discomfort and pain caused. For further information regarding bruxism in children, click here.

2. Genetic Reasons – Professor Esther Gazit, the Department Head for masticatory system’s functional problems at the School of Dentistry, Tel Aviv University considers genmetic factors to be responsible for bruxism. for instance, if parents are habitual bruxers, kids will probably brux too.

3. Drugs and Medication – Prescribed medicines like antidepressants and ones that treat ADHD and ADD may also induce bruxism. Consuming Ecstasy, a drug can also be a source of bruxism.

4. Illness – nervous system disorder like Parkinson’s and neural system disorders like Huntington’s are also considered as causes of bruxism in bruxers. It is wise to consider minor illnesses like fever, cold and flu seriously as they can also cause a person discomfort, eventually resulting in teeth grinding.

5. Eating Habits – A crucial dietary deficiency that can be easily remedied is dehydration. It causes headaches, dry mouth, constipation, dry skin (and a reduced ability to sweat to cool down the body in high heat), all these cause discomfort during sleep and may lead to bruxism. Another known cause of bruxism is a high amount of caffeine in our body due to heavy consumption of coffee, chocolates, energy drinks, cola, and alcohol as well as smoking cigarettes. Allergies like rhinitis and asthma and a poor diet may also contribute to bruxism.

6. Misalignment of Teeth – The medical term for this condition is malocclusion, which means irregular teeth alignment. Teeth misalignment may result in involuntary teeth grinding during sleep and may be cured by consulting an orthodontist and having the teeth aligned or straightened. Then again, your teeth may be somewhat straight but there may consist of an irregular gap in your upper and lower teeth due to a slightly jutting filling, an irregular shaped tooth or a wisdom tooth. In such a case, you may get the filling replaced, the wisdom tooth extracted or the tooth filed down by your dentist.

Other Causes – The researchers of the US-based Mayo Clinic have highlighted the abnormal jaw framework as a trigger for bruxism.


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