What Causes Bruxism?

by | Feb 4, 2015 | Health Featured

The term bruxism is a medical term used to describe night time teeth grinding. While most people who grind occasionally may never know about it, for many people, night time teeth grinding is a regular occurrence. For those who grind often, bruxism can have very severe consequences. Today, we’ll talk about the most common causes of bruxism and what you can do to stop grinding at night.

What Causes Bruxism?

There are several reasons that someone may grind their teeth at night. Here is a list of the most common causes of night time grinding.

  • Abnormal Bite or Missing or Crooked Teeth – The most common reason for bruxism is an abnormal bite missing or crooked teeth. While people with an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth are sleeping, they may subconsciously close their mouths. If something feels out of place, they may start grinding in a subconscious effort to find comfort. Because the underlying problem cannot be solved by grinding, bruxism persists.
  • Stress & Anxiety – Another common cause of bruxism is stress and or anxiety. When some people are stressed, they may may grind their teeth; even when they’re awake. People with high levels of stress or anxiety in their lives also have a high tenancy to grind their teeth at night; some experts view this as the mind’s subconscious way of coping with the stress or anxiety.
  • Lifestyle Factors – There are more lifestyle factors that come into play when trying to pinpoint the cause or causes of bruxism. Studies show that people that consume large amounts of caffeine or alcohol over the course of a day are more likely to grind their teeth at night.

Ways To Stop Grinding

  • Use A Mouth Guard – Night time mouth guards are a great way to offer a cushion between your top and your bottom teeth if you grind often. While a mouth guard won’t solve the problem completely, using one can help you to avoid breaking or damaged teeth as a result of night time grinding.
  • Don’t Consume Caffeine – Multiple studies have come out showing that caffeine is not only an addictive substance, but it’s a dangerous one. One of the many side effects associated with the consumption of large amounts of caffeine throughout the day is bruxism. So, cut caffeine out of your diet to see if your grinding slows or stops.
  • Slow Down On Alcohol – As with Caffeine, alcohol is known to cause severe health issues when large amounts are consumed regularly. Excessive alcohol use can also lead to bruxism. Therefore, if you’re a grinder, it’s going to be best to slow down on the alcohol.
  • Find Ways To Reduce Stress – As mentioned above, stress is one of the main causes of bruxism. If you live a high-stress life, try to find ways to relax throughout the day. Simple things like taking a walk, meditating, or even taking a 5 minute break to reflect every once in a while can all reduce the level of stress in your life.
  • Consult A Dentist – If your grinding is caused by missing or broken teeth, or a bad bite, a dentist may be able to help. Contact a dentist in your area to find out how they can help!
  • Don’t Chew On Non-Food Items – Sometimes, bruxism can be the result of chewing on pencils and other non-food items when you are awake. If you chew on non-food items during the day and grind your teeth at night, it’s time to stop chewing on your pencil!

Final Thoughts

Bruxism becomes a major issue for many people. However, there are ways to minimize the effects of bruxism or even avoid them all together. To learn more about the causes of bruxism and what you can do to minimize its effects, click here!

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