Have you ever wondered how many people in the United States take Adderall?
A quick google search says A LOT. Over 16 million people were prescribed adderall in 2012.
In this article, we’ll explore an often overlooked yet dangerous side effect of taking Adderall- excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching. We’ll provide insight into how it happens, how to stop it, what it can mean down the road if you don’t stop it and helpful solutions for immediate pain relief & recovery.
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Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, medically known as bruxism, can be caused by various factors; including sleep disorders, occlusion, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking, stress, and the use of amphetamine medications.
If you’re taking Adderall, you should be aware of its side effects. In this post, you will find out why your teeth grinding and jaw clenching may be a result of using amphetamines like Adderall or other types of stimulants. If you’ve come here to know if Adderall is causing you to grind your teeth at night, you’re in luck. We have done the research and the answer is below!
Amphetamines are stimulants clinically prescribed for the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Because the drugs stimulate the central nervous system, producing a performance-enhancing effect, they are frequently abused and misused. Also, legitimate long-term use of amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin can turn into an addiction. Some of the short-term effects of these drugs include feeling energized, being excited, quick reaction times, increased concentration and attentiveness, and feelings of euphoria.
The long-term “not-so-great” side effects of amphetamines include:
- loss of coordination
- violent and obsessive behavior
- hallucinations, and more…
These effects, however, vary from person to person depending on factors such as the medical state of the user, the amphetamine dosage, and the user’s body composition.
Amphetamines and Bruxism
As noted earlier, bruxism is one of the side effects of amphetamines like Adderall.
The effects of Adderall and other amphetamines on jaw clenching and teeth grinding were first discovered by Ashcroft et al. in the 1960s. The researchers found out that amphetamine addiction causes continuous teeth grinding and clenching.
It was also realized that users rubbed their tongues along the inside of their lower lips. Liester et al. would later conduct research involving 20 psychiatrists who were previously on amphetamine prescriptions. 30% of the subjects were found to have teeth grinding and jaw clenching as an adverse side effect of the medicine.
“Why do amphetamines cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching?”
Much research shows that amphetamines have a powerful distributive influence on an individual’s dopaminergic pathways. What’s this fancy pants word mean you might ask? These are the pathways that release the neurotransmitter, dopamine. One of the functions of dopamine is to help with motor control and muscle movement.
So, you may be more inclined to grind your teeth and/or clench your jaw. This could also be accompanied by a dry mouth. Less saliva leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay. Continued bruxism can lead to severe dental problems including tooth (or teeth) loss, gum problems, and teeth and jaw pains. It is important to note here that if you take increased doses of Adderall and other amphetamines, their effects on bruxism can become worse.
Amphetamines can also cause cardiac related issues, insomnia, and gastrointestinal conditions like diarrhea and constipation.
*A note about methamphetamines and the common term “meth mouth”
Methamphetamines and “Meth Mouth”
Contrary to popular belief, meth is not a new drug and the term “meth mouth” is not a new dental phenomenon. It’s not a weird concoction that some kids made up in the 80s. Meth and its bizarre effects have been around for quite sometime.
Methamphetamine was actually first created in Japan by a man named Nagayoshi Nagai in 1893, then made into a crystal form in 1919 by a man named Akira Ogata.
In WW2, meth was distributed to Japanese soldiers and German soldiers in tablet form. Of course, back then no one was aware of the many awful adverse effects including the high probability for full-on addiction.
Now we know that it can take just one time of use to become an addict.
This isn’t a scare tactic given by a helicopter mom. This is simply the cold hard truth about this highly dangerous and highly addictive drug. It does not mean that every person who does meth instantly becomes an addict. It means that there have been many cases in which a person who had never done the drug before engaged in use once and became addicted.
And the even scarier part? The more you use it and the longer you use it, the less chance you have to be able to stop.
Signs of Meth Use and the Resulting “Meth Mouth”
- Excessive dry mouth which increases chances of cavities
- Clenching, gnawing or grinding of the teeth. This action creates fracture lines in the teeth, shortened or flat teeth, chipped or broken teeth which in turn weakens the tooth. The weakened teeth become more susceptible to cavities, rotting, and even degradation of the bone and root system.
- Craving sugary drinks that eats away at the enamel
- Hygienists and dentists can start to see the eroded enamel as it is a first line indicator of meth mouth.
Combating Bruxism Caused by Adderall and Other Amphetamines
1. Invest in a high quality mouth guard
Find a mouth guard made of high-quality material. The mouth guard should fit you properly and should be thick enough to separate your upper teeth from the lower ones. While you can get a good mouth guard from the shelves, it is recommended that you get one custom-made for you. This type can be made through a dentist, or a more affordable alternative would be to purchase one online.
A quality mouth guard will also help you prevent other bruxism effects like having receded gums, headaches, and soreness in the mouth.
2. Lower your Adderall dosage, or try to wean yourself off it
You don’t want to stop your ADHD medication – but grinding your teeth and clenching your jaws is the last thing you want to keep doing. Try reducing the dosage and see if it can reduce your bruxism severity. Though it is a temporary remedy, this actually works for some people. If it doesn’t work for you, you can switch to another type of ADHD medication. However, it is always important to talk to your doctor in advance for professional advice.
Medical experts have linked magnesium deficiency to teeth grinding and clenching. So getting more magnesium in your diets can help you reduce the effects of bruxism. Foods rich in this mineral include spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chard, avocado, figs, bananas, black beans, and yogurt.
You can also get supplements with magnesium glycinate which will help you reduce the long-term amphetamine tolerance, thus helping attenuate bruxism. Magnesium glycinate does not pose gastrointestinal side effects like other supplements that have magnesium oxide do.
4. Partake in calming practices
Getting a professional massage can help ease the muscle tension in your head. It will relax the muscles in your jaws which go a long way to help you reduce the effects of bruxism.
You can also learn how to exercise your jaws every night before you to bed. Various body-mind exercises such as deep breathing and meditation can boost your mindfulness to boost your self-awareness. While you may not notice it, these exercises can help you stop jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
Is Adderall causing me to grind my teeth at night? Possibly. Maybe. Even probably.
It is worth mentioning that if you are already experiencing severe bruxism, besides using the remedies discussed above, it is extremely important that you seek professional help from your dentist. Severe bruxism poses very serious dental problems that you should not underestimate. Again, if you are using ADHD medications, use them only for the intended purpose and avoid recreational use.
We hope this post has been a helpful resource for you and remember to wear your night guard!