HomeDental ProblemsWhat is Bruxism or Teeth grinding and Which are the Causes?

What is Bruxism or Teeth grinding and Which are the Causes?

What is Bruxism?

It is habitual unconscious, involuntary, excessive grinding or gnashing or clenching of teeth. It may occur during sleep or when a person is awake.

Types of Bruxism :

Sleep or nocturnal bruxism :

If unconscious, involuntary, excessive grinding or clenching of teeth (bruxism) occurs during sleep then it’s called sleep or nocturnal bruxism.

Wakeful or diurnal bruxism :

If bruxism occurs when a person is awake, then it’s called wakeful or diurnal bruxism.

Signs and Symptoms :

  • Dull Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Flattened teeth tips (attrition)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Soreness of Jaw or Jaw pain (TMJ disorder)
  • Painful and loosening of teeth
  • Damage to cheek/cheek biting
  • Locking of the jaw

teeth flattening

What are the causes of Bruxism?

Psychological : Stress, anxiety, fear, and emotional tension may lead to bruxism or grinding teeth, or clenching of teeth. It is the most common cause of bruxism.

According to Polysomnographic studies, bruxism is part of the sleep arousal response which is a sudden change in depth of sleep.

People with aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personalities may also develop bruxism.

Occupational : Certain types of occupations may be responsible for bruxism, Athletes who engage in physical activities may develop Bruxism.

Local factors : In cases of more missing teeth bruxism may develop as a person tries to maintain maximum contact with teeth. Occlusal disturbances or an abnormal bite are also the cause behind the grinding of teeth. Consult a dentist to know the actual cause of your bruxism.

Systemic factors : Gastrointestinal and endocrine disturbances, allergy, and nutritional deficiency.

Sleep disorder : Sleep disorder such as sleep apnea is also considered a cause of grinding teeth or bruxism.

Other causes : According to a study published by the Journal of American dental association, people who consume alcohol, and tobacco and smokers are those who are more likely to develop bruxism.

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of bruxism by 2 times, 1.5 times for those who consume 8 or more cups of coffee a day, and more than 2 times for those who are smokers and chew tobacco.

  • Certain medications also cause bruxism.
  • Chewing pencil, pen, toothpick, etc. leads to bruxism.

Consult the dentist before reach to any conclusion about the reason or cause behind your Bruxism.

Treatment for Bruxism :

Psychological approach :

Finding and solving psychological issues like stress and anxiety, emotional tension, and fear. Counseling or psychotherapy can help to cure the deep psychological issues of patients.

Mouthguard :

Nightguards, occlusal splints, bite plates,  removable orthodontic appliances, etc. are useful to protect teeth and periodontal tissue. Ask your dentist about it.

Medications :

Medications like muscle relaxants can help to reduce teeth grinding. If you are taking antidepressants or stress-relieving medicines tell about it to the dentist.

  1. American Sleep Association: "Bruxism."
  2. Mayo Clinic: "Bruxism"
  3. The journal of American dental association "Association between sleep bruxism and alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and drug abuse" https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(16)30541-

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