Are you grating your grin while you sleep? If you wake up with a headache or a sore jaw, chances are you’re guilty of grinding. Here are some common causes and how to stop:
Nighttime teeth grinding, also known as sleep bruxism, affects 8% of adults. The disorder can be caused by lifestyle choices, mouth complications—even your overall well-being:
- Lifestyle Choices: Alcohol drinkers, tobacco users, and high caffeine consumers are all prone to teeth grinding, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association.
- Mouth Issues: Missing teeth or a misaligned bite can cause you to grind.
- Medications: Check your prescriptions. Bruxism is listed as a side effect on some antidepressants and amphetamines.
- Emotional Well-Being: Both stress and anxiety can cause your mouth to tense up, thus prompting nighttime teeth grinding.
If you notice symptoms of teeth grinding, talk to your dentist. He or she may be able to recommend a nighttime mouthguard to protect your teeth.
If you think high stress levels are to blame, talk to your doctor. He or she can give you a referral to a counselor or other specialist. And if you think you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, address those concerns with your doctor as well.
In the meantime, make it a point to:
- Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Avoid biting on pencils or your nails.
- Try these stress-management tips.
Avoid further damage to your teeth and jaw—take care of tooth grinding in your sleep as soon as possible!