Common Causes of Teeth Grinding

Common Causes of Teeth Grinding

At the dental offices of Three Rivers Dental, we regularly see patients for bruxism, or teeth grinding. This condition, which most commonly occurs during sleep, involves a clenching of the jaw muscles and, sometimes, the movement of teeth back and forth against each other.

Bruxism affects around eight percent of adults, and it can cause a few complications if left unaddressed, including worn down teeth. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of bruxism, which can help you identify the source and address the issue.

Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are by far the largest single factor in bruxism. According to the Bruxism Association, nearly 70 percent of all cases are due to this cause. Many of us think we can put our stress aside when we go to sleep, but this often isn’t the case – often, it shows up subconsciously through things like teeth grinding.

The most significant single stressor here is work-related stress, which can interfere with sleep in multiple ways and can create a negative sleep cycle. If possible, look for ways to relieve work-related stress.

Sleep Disorders

Several sleep disorders are linked with bruxism, and may make you more likely to suffer from it. These include sleep apnea, snoring, acid reflux, breathing issues, and various parasomnia types including sleep paralysis, sleep talking and others.

Medical Side Effects

In some cases, certain medications will cause teeth grinding. Some drugs for sleep, anxiety or depression even cause this, which obviously makes things a bit complicated here.

Malocclusion or Other Tooth Issues

Malocclusion, or misaligned teeth, can also cause bruxism. Teeth that don’t line up will not meet properly when you close your mouth, which lessens the stability of the jaw. This can lead to stress on the muscles and joints in the jaw, which can then lead to bruxism.

Lifestyle Considerations

These may not be direct causes of bruxism, but certain lifestyle choices can put you at a higher risk for developing it. These include smoking, using tobacco, using recreational drugs, drinking alcohol or caffeine, and more. All of these can lead to sleep issues, which can in turn affect bruxism.

For more on bruxism and preventing tooth grinding, or to learn about how our dentist can help, contact Three Rivers Dental today.