What Causes Teeth Grinding and How Do You Stop It? 

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common dental condition that affects people of all ages. It can occur during the day or, more commonly, at night while sleeping. Teeth grinding can lead to various dental problems, including worn teeth, jaw pain and headaches. In this article, we will explore the causes of teeth grinding and discuss strategies to stop this potentially harmful habit. 

Causes of teeth grinding 

Stress and anxiety. One of the most common triggers for teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. People often clench and grind their teeth as a way to cope with stress or to express inner tension, especially during the night. 

Sleep disorders. Sleep-related bruxism is a specific form of teeth grinding that occurs during sleep. It may be associated with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea, snoring or restless leg syndrome. 

Dental misalignment. Irregularities in the bite or tooth alignment can contribute to teeth grinding. When teeth do not fit together properly, it may result in grinding or clenching as the body attempts to find a more comfortable position. 

Medications and substances. Certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or recreational drugs, can lead to teeth grinding as a side effect. Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption can also exacerbate the problem. 

Malocclusion. Malocclusion, a misalignment of the upper and lower teeth, is a common cause of bruxism. Correcting this dental issue may help alleviate teeth grinding. 

How to stop teeth grinding 

Stress management. Reducing stress and anxiety is a key step in stopping teeth grinding. Consider stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness practices to relax and unwind. 

Dental appliances. Dentists often recommend using a night guard or splint to protect the teeth from the effects of grinding. These appliances create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing wear and tear. 

Behavioural therapy. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or other forms of psychotherapy can help individuals address the underlying emotional causes of teeth grinding and develop healthier coping mechanisms. 

Dental correction. If malocclusion or misalignment is the root cause of your bruxism, orthodontic treatment or dental procedures may be necessary to correct the issue. 

Lifestyle changes. Reducing the intake of caffeine, alcohol and stimulants can help alleviate teeth grinding in some cases. A well-balanced diet and proper hydration can also contribute to overall dental health. 

Relaxation techniques. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as taking warm baths, listening to soothing music or engaging in physical exercise. This can help reduce tension and alleviate teeth grinding. 

Becoming proactive 

Teeth grinding is a common issue with potentially harmful consequences for oral health and overall well-being. Addressing the causes of teeth grinding is essential for finding an effective solution. By managing stress, using dental appliances, seeking behavioural therapy, and making necessary lifestyle changes, individuals can take proactive steps to stop teeth grinding and protect their dental health. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, it’s essential to consult with a dentist to determine the underlying causes and develop a personalised treatment plan.