Why do You Grind Your Teeth at Night


Teeth grinding is one of the most common issues people face these days, and even though it can happen when under stress or while concentrating on something, the fact is that it most frequently occurs during the night. If you’re a teeth grinder, or if you want to know more about this habit, just stay with us and keep on reading. Here are some possible explanations and tips on how to successfully deal with this issue.

Why people grind their teeth during the night?

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, which is also called bruxism, are most often related to stress and anxiety. These usually occur during the night, when the brain switches between lighter and deeper stages of sleep. As your brain approaches deep sleep, all the muscles in your body have to fully relax, which may pose some problems for the airway. Your jaw is really heavy so it easily blocks the airway, similarly to your tongue which expands to almost twice its size when relaxed. When there’s a partial blockage in your airway, it’s likely that teeth grinding will occur since it can reopen your airway and help you breathe properly again.

Is teeth grinding harmful?

On the one hand, teeth grinding can be really helpful, since it allows people with respiratory problems to breathe properly. It usually doesn’t cause any harm. However, it can certainly damage the teeth and cause other oral health complications if it occurs on a daily basis. Chronic teeth grinding can result in loosening, fracturing, and even loss of teeth. It may completely wear down your teeth, which is why you may need crowns, bridges, implants, partial dentures, or even complete dentures. Apart from your teeth, it can also damage your jaw joints since it can reposition the jaw.

How can I find out if I grind my teeth?

The fact that it occurs during sleep makes it a bit harder to realize whether you grind your teeth or not. Most people are unaware of this habit, especially if it doesn’t happen on a daily basis. However, a dull headache or jaw pain when you wake up are some of the most common symptoms of bruxism, which is exactly how you can tell if you’re a teeth grinder or not. Jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth are also among the symptoms. Besides that, you should be aware of the fact that teeth grinding is one of the indicators for obstructive sleep apnea. Apart from interrupting your breathing during the night, this condition is also said to increase the risk of stroke, obesity, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you’ve recognized some symptoms, make sure to look for an effective sleep apnea treatment. You should always ask your doctor about dealing with this condition in the best possible way.

How can I stop grinding my teeth?

A mouth guard can be very handy to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep, so make sure to ask your dentist about one. As already stated, stress is one of the most common causes, so you can attend stress counseling, start seeing a physical therapist, or get a prescription for muscle relaxants. However, if your teeth grinding is caused by a sleeping disorder, you should treat it first in order to reduce the grinding habit. First of all, give your best to avoid chewing gum as much as you can, because it is likely to allow your jaw muscles to get used to clenching. Besides that, you should also cut back on alcohol, since grinding can intensify after alcohol consumption. The same goes for foods and drinks that contain caffeine – chocolate, coffee, and cola.

Teeth grinding is very common among people, no matter of their gender and age, but the truth is that it can be treated if you manage to recognize its symptoms as soon as they start showing. All you have to do is to be well informed, because having enough knowledge about the subject can help you successfully deal with any potential problem. Just make sure to bear all the aforementioned facts in mind, and you’re halfway there!

Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. You can read more of her posts at Ripped.me