Clenching and grinding of the teeth, which is medically known as Bruxism, is a problem that is more common in women than in men, according to an article published by the US National Library of Medicines.
About 80% of the bruxism cases take place at night and don’t cause much problem, but its persistence can lead to jaw pain and tooth loss. It also happens when people are awake and most of the times it occurs subconsciously, when people are in stressful situations.
While there is a common belief that it improves with time, it can actually get worse if you are going through a prolonged period of stress or anxiety.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Stress: High levels of stress at work or due to relationships and other personal problems can trigger and worsen the effect of bruxism. Studies have proven that about 70% of the cases that occur during sleep are a result of stress or anxiety. Sometimes you may also clench your jaw due to anger.
Sleep Disorders: Studies have shown that sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), lead to the grinding of teeth. OSA interrupts your breathing during sleep, making you react violently. If you talk or mumble during sleep, then also you might grind your teeth, says Dr. Gary E. Hoblitt, DDS.
Medication: Sometimes, it can also happen as a side effect of medicines, such as antidepressants and anti-psychotics.
Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, can also contribute to this problem.
What are the Effects?
Wear and tear of the teeth
How to Avoid it?
Reduce the consumption of drinks, such as sodas, chocolate and coffee, that contain caffeine.
Alcohol intensifies grinding. So, limit the consumption.
Do not chew anything that is not food, such as pens, pencils, etc, since it could make your jaws more addicted to grinding.
Train yourself by positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This will reduce the urge to clench or grind.
The best way to get rid of grinding and clenching of teeth is to find out the cause and treat it. In most cases, it is due to the obstruction of the airway and if you can treat that problem, the grinding will stop.
You should also consult a dentist, and if require use a mouth guard. If the cause is stress, then opt for counseling sessions and start exercising ways to overcome the urge to grind or clench.