If you wake up with aching teeth or a stiff and sore face, it could be down to grinding your teeth in your sleep. Medically known as bruxism, teeth grinding most often happens when you are sleeping, although some people do it when they are awake. Around 5% of the population suffers from tooth grinding, which can be painful, wear your teeth down, damage your teeth and cause jaw strain and aches. So, what are the causes?
Stress and Anxiety
Being stressed out or anxious can cause your muscles to tense, which might lead to clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. Research suggests that most people who grind their teeth during the night while they are asleep do so because of the subconscious effect that the stress and anxiety has on their body while they are sleeping. If this sounds like you, relaxation strategies like meditation or deep breathing could help. Cognitive behavioural therapy can also be useful in helping you deal with the root cause of anxiety.
Behaviours that are exhibited during sleep such as talking or mumbling in your sleep or sleep paralysis have also been linked to bruxism. Sleep apnoea, a condition that stops you from breathing for short periods of time while you are sleeping, can also cause it. If you suspect that you are suffering with a sleep disorder, it’s best to visit your doctor for advice. Sleep apnoea can be treated using a breathing device, and making changes to your lifestyle like losing weight and quitting smoking can also help.
Grinding your teeth might be an unwanted side effect from some medications, including certain antidepressants and antipsychotics. If you have recently been prescribed a new medication, it’s a good idea to check the leaflet and ask your doctor if it might cause this side effect. Your doctor may be able to recommend an alternative medication if needed.
Any misalignment of your teeth such as a tooth filling that is too high could lead to grinding your teeth. If you have recently had a dental treatment carried out and are experiencing any pain, discomfort, or have noticed that you have been grinding your teeth more, speak to a dentist who can offer advice and correct any dental misalignments that might be the cause. Enhanced Dental Studios Southport can help.
Finally, a rare but possible cause of tooth grinding could be due to an infection with intestinal parasites. Pinworms, roundworms, and tapeworms are some of the main kinds of parasites that might infect the intestine and will usually find their way in when a person comes into contact with contaminated food, water or soil. They can be present in your intestines for a long period of time without causing any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include bloating, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. See your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms along with recent teeth grinding.
Grinding your teeth can wear them down and cause jaw pain among other problems. Thankfully, there are many things that you can do to treat the root cause of tooth grinding and stop for good.