Teeth clenching or teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can lead to headaches, broken teeth, and jaw pain, mainly at night. If you wake up with a sore jaw or headache and your partner often complains about you keeping them awake all night because of the sound of gnashing, then it might be teeth grinding. When left untreated, it can cause some severe damage. So, it's important to know everything about it, from its symptoms to its solutions.

Symptoms of teeth grinding

As per Bruxism Association, common signs of teeth grinding are headaches and discomfort in the temporomandibular joint. People with teeth grinding are three times more prone to headaches than others. Other symptoms include abnormal tooth wearing, teeth fracture, and tooth inflammation.

Some of the other symptoms include

  • Enhanced tooth sensitivity because of decreased tooth enamel
  • Soreness in the jaw or tight muscles around the jaws
  • Chipped or loosen the tooth
  • Headache that starts at your temples.

Teeth have several other symptoms similar to those of other conditions. And also, as teeth grinding occurs at night during sleep, therefore it is very challenging to know if you are doing it or not. 

Effect of teeth grinding on your oral health

As per some recent studies, when you grind your teeth while sleeping, the grinding force is higher than the force of regular chewing your food. While eating, the chewing motion is cushioned by foods, but your teeth receive the entire force while sleeping. Bruxism or teeth grinding leads to

  • Wearing away your tooth enamel and also dentin leads to tooth sensitivity
  • Painful or loosened tooth
  • Cracked teeth, implants, or the bridgework
  • Headaches

Cause of teeth grinding

Several things cause teeth grinding. Some of the leading causes are

  • Snoring, sleep apnea and sleep talking: This plays a significant role in developing teeth grinding. Sleep apnea also affects your breathing while sleeping. You can speak to your dentist for proper treatment.
  • Stress and anxiety: These are the primary reasons for grinding teeth as one of the coping methods. Stress is highly linked with bruxism. Exercises release endorphins that reduces stress. Some specified relaxing methods such as listening to music, walking, and taking a warm bath help.
  • Lifestyle: The use of tobacco and consumption of alcohol also enhances the risk of teeth grinding, especially when it is consumed before going to bed. 
  • Certain medications and disorders also lead to bruxism: Certain side effects from drugs and anti-depressants, along with neurological conditions such as Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease, also causes teeth grinding. In such cases, it's best to consult your dentist.

How to stop bruxism or teeth grinding?

If you think you are suffering from teeth grinding while sleeping, then keep track of your symptoms and consult your dentist at your upcoming dental appointment. Here are a few tips for alleviating the biggest cause of teeth grinding:

  • Relax: Maximum bruxism suffers from clenching and grinding teeth because of stress and anxiety. Before bed, take some time to wind up from the whole day. Take a warm or bubble bath, read your favorite book, practice meditation, listen to soothing music and do mindfulness exercises. This assists you in letting go of a whole day's negativity and allows your body to release tension. This is one of the easiest ways to treat teeth grinding.


  • Avoid stimulating substances in the evening: Avoid consuming caffeinated drink like tea, coffee or cold drink as they may worsen bruxism.


  • Night guard: You can talk to your dentist to get a night guard or a mandibular advancement device. Nightguards, also called mouthguards, are occlusal appliances or splints that fit over your teeth and assist in protecting your teeth from all kinds of grinding damages while decreasing jaw muscle pain. Nightguards are also available over the counter or custom-made by your dentist. Customized mouth guards are a little expensive, and there is another better option based on the severity of bruxism. Consult your dentist to know what fits you best.


  • Mandibular advancement devices are specific fitted appliances for bringing your bottom jaw forward while sleeping. These are best for treating teeth grinding when a sleeping disorder mainly causes it. They also assist in managing sleep apnea and snoring. Even if these devices cannot help in curing teeth grinding, it protects your teeth from several consequences.


  • Undergoing regular dental exams: When nothing helps, undergoing a regular dental check-up can help. Checking with your dentist and undergoing dental examination are the best way to identify bruxism and get it treated easily. Your dentist can recommend Muscle relaxants for bruxism, or anti-depressants and in severe cases botox injection to treat the condition.


When teeth grinding results in broken fillings, fractured teeth, or broken crowns, your dentist might require you to restore your teeth with new crowns or fillings. Your dentist will recommend orthodontic treatment for adjusting your bite or correcting your tooth alignment. So, no matter the cause of your teeth grinding, it's essential to take appropriate action against it to decrease its consequences. At MyDentalPlan.in you will access many dentists who can assist you with several measures for stopping teeth grinding.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service

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