Keeping your teeth healthy and in tip-top condition is important for a healthy smile. Grinding teeth, at night or during the day, is a common issue that can easily go unnoticed. However, if left unaddressed it can damage your teeth enamel and cause other dental complications. In this article, we'll outline everything you need to know about the symptoms of teeth grinding, its causes, and some of its long-term effects. Of course, if you’re concerned about your teeth, be sure to consult your dentist.
What is teeth grinding at night?
Teeth grinding is a condition that you may not even realise you have. It’s an unconscious process by which you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth. Teeth grinding most often occurs at night, but you may also find that you subconsciously clench your jaw or grind your teeth during the day as well¹.
Teeth grinding: Causes
The cause of teeth grinding is not always obvious, however, grinding teeth at night has been linked to¹ ²:
- Stress and anxiety: Teeth grinding at night can be caused by stress and anxiety and may cause sleep problems.
- Diet: Drinking excessive amounts of caffeinated drinks or alcohol is another potential teeth grinding causes.
- Medications: Teeth grinding can be a side-effect of certain medications, including some antidepressants.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea or OSA may be the cause of your teeth grinding.
- Smoking and using recreational drugs.
If you’ve been grinding teeth in your sleep, you may only notice when your partner hears the grinding noises at night, or when new dental issues coincide with interrupted sleep problems. As it occurs while you are asleep, knowing how to stop grinding teeth at night can be tricky.
Some of the causes of grinding teeth in your sleep can be reduced by simple lifestyle changes. Simple mindfulness techniques aimed at reducing the effects of stress like meditation, yoga, or a relaxing massage can go a long way in helping with teeth grinding. Always consult your doctor or dentist, however, if you are worried or need help to make more major changes to your everyday life.
How do you know if you grind your teeth: the symptoms
It can be hard to know if you are grinding your teeth at night, as this likely happens when you are asleep and therefore not conscious of your actions. However, some of the symptoms of teeth grinding can entail serious dental issues, so it pays to look out for the following¹ ²:
- Fractured or damaged teeth: Grinding your teeth can seriously damage your teeth, causing the enamel to become damaged and even fractured. It can also cause damage to fillings in the teeth.
- Enamel erosion: The friction created by grinding your teeth together can lead to enamel erosion.
- Tooth sensitivity: Enamel erosion due to teeth grinding can lead to increased sensitivity.
- Loosening or loss of teeth: The movement associated with grinding your teeth can cause your teeth to loosen or even fall out.
- Headaches: If you grind your teeth at night, you may find you wake up with tension-type headaches, particularly around the back of your head and your jawline.
- Muscle issues, pain and stiffness in your face and jaw joints.
- Suffering from disrupted sleep.
How to stop grinding teeth at night?
The most effective way to shake the habit of grinding teeth in sleep or during the day is to seek medical advice from your dentist. Three important times to visit your dentist are:
- If you notice your teeth are worn, damaged, or more sensitive than usual.
- You suffer from jaw, face, or ear pain that won’t let up.
- Your partner notices you are making a grinding sound in your sleep.
After visiting your dentist, they will be able to advise you which course of action is best suited to you. Recommendations for how to prevent grinding teeth issues will depend on the specific causes behind your condition. They may suggest:
- Muscle-relaxation exercises.
- Relaxation exercises such as yoga or mindfulness.
- Routine changes to improve your sleep quality.
- Lifestyle changes, such as reducing regular intake of caffeine, alcohol or sugar, or quitting cigarette smoking.
- Changes to medication prescriptions, following advice from your doctor.
- If you suffer from pre-diagnosed stress or anxiety, they may also recommend referring yourself for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
- Wearing a mouth guard or gum shield while you sleep to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding; more on this below.
If the previously listed methods don’t stop your teeth grinding, please seek further advice from your dental health professional.
How to prevent grinding teeth issues from damaging your teeth
Working out how to stop grinding teeth at night, or during the day, can be a long-term process. That means that you’ll need some strategies to prevent damage in the meantime. Your dentist may recommend wearing a protective mouth guard or gum shield to help protect your teeth and prevent grinding teeth at night from damaging your enamel.
Since grinding teeth can damage your enamel, it’s important you take good care of it at home and ensure its long-lasting protection by using the Regenerate Enamel Science range. Regenerate Enamel Science™ is the first system able to regenerate enamel mineral* with exactly the same mineral that tooth enamel is made of. The use of the Advanced Toothpaste in combination with the Advanced Enamel Serum provides significant increase in enamel hardness, with 82%** recovery of enamel hardness after 3 days.
- Using Regenerate’s Advanced Toothpaste daily as part of your beauty routine can help increase your teeth’s natural strength by regenerate the enamel mineral content***.
- You should also add Regenerate’s Advanced Foaming Mouthwash to your self-care schedule as this fresh, alcohol-free mouthwash acts on early, invisible stages of enamel erosion****.
- Finally, using Regenerate’s Advanced Enamel Serum once a month can boost your Regenerate Advanced Toothpaste’s enamel mineral regenerating effect by up to 43%*****.
Now we’ve outlined everything you need to know about teeth grinding, you can keep your smile healthy. Most importantly, you can rest assured that Regenerate’s cutting-edge products can help protect your teeth.
*Acts on early invisible stages of enamel erosion. Helps to regenerate enamel by restoring its mineral content and micro hardness with regular use. Clinically proven.
**Based on an in-vitro test measuring enamel hardness after 3 days combined use of Toothpaste and Serum.
***Acts on early invisible stages of enamel erosion by restoring its mineral content and micro-hardness with regular use. Clinically proven.
****Acts on early invisible stages of enamel erosion. Restoring enamel mineral content and micro-hardness.
******As demonstrated in a 3-day in vitro test measuring enamel micro hardness: Combined use of Advanced toothpaste and Advanced serum vs. Advanced toothpaste only.
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any dental problems.