Why We Grind Our Teeth At Night And How To Correct It

by Samantha on January 3, 2011

Bruxism is the name of the condition that occurs when you grind your teeth while you sleep. Bruxism not only includes teeth grinding, but also clenching of the jaw during sleep. Although the teeth grinder may be unaware that he is doing it, some people may be fully aware of it and, in fact, do it on purpose.

Although those who grind their teeth during their sleep may have no idea that this is taking place, those sleeping next to them or within their general vicinity may be painfully aware and kept up at night as a result.

It can end up making one quite embarrassed when they have to sleep with others around and may lead to an avoidance of such intimacy. Teeth grinding can be just as not annoying as snoring, if not more.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth At Night?

It has not yet been conclusively determined why people grind their teeth while they sleep. However, it is most often correlated with stress and anxiety. People who deal with an extra amount of stress in their daily lives can certainly trigger teeth grinding at night.

Other potential causes of teeth grinding that have been determined include misaligned teeth, poor posture, diet and eating disorders, particular sleeping habits, one’s inability to relax, suppressed anger or frustrations, and, in children, the development of the jaw.

It is often said that teeth grinding can be associated with certain types of personalities. Those who grind their teeth at night typically tend to be people who are aggressive in nature and/or hyperactive. Children can also experience teeth grinding while they sleep. Fortunately, this grinding behavior can go away naturally as they grow and mature, typically when they reach their adolescent years.

What Can You Do if You Grind Your Teeth At Night?

Although teeth grinding at night may be a noise nuisance for your spouse, roommate, or anyone else within earshot of you at night, it is a more serious issue for you, the teeth grinder, physically. Grinding your teeth can actually cause damage to your teeth, as well as result in jaw pain in many instances.

To save your teeth and jaw from Bruxism, there are many things you can do to try to prevent it. First, you can engage in relaxation techniques to assist you in working through that stress you experience day in and day out that is causing this condition. Meditation, massage, relaxing baths, or taking time out to read a little each night are all ways that may help you relax and wipe away the stress from your day.

Giving yourself a face massage and relaxing those muscles, especially in your jaw, should help a great deal. Wearing a mouth guard is another great way to help with teeth grinding, and at the very least, will protect your teeth from any damage as a result of the nightly grinding. The guard can also help with jaw pain in that it may stop you from clenching your teeth at night.

If your problem is misaligned teeth, then you should make an appointment with an orthodontist. An orthodontist can fit your mouth with an appliance that will fix your bite pattern, and thus, ultimately resolving your teeth grinding problem. An orthodontist can also advise you on other techniques to save you from continuing to grind your teeth at night, regardless of the cause.

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