Tips & Tricks

Why Are My Teeth Sore When I Wake Up?

why are my teeth sore when I wake up?

Waking up with sore teeth is common among many people.

Reviewed and updated for accuracy on 06/12/23

Often times, when a person goes to sleep, their teeth feel healthy and fine but when they wake up the teeth will feel sore. Sometimes, just the bottom teeth hurt or just the top and sometimes everything hurts including the jaw.

This may or may not be accompanied by a headache and/or jaw clicking/popping. It may seem minor but it can cause a lot of discomfort and inconveniences.

A person who wakes with complaints of “my teeth are sore” or “my teeth hurt” might be unable to eat breakfast or brush teeth comfortably. It’s not the best way for one to start their day and can actually be doing real damage to the teeth.

defend your teeth against the daily grind graphic

Why are my teeth sore when I wake up?

Waking up with sore teeth can be a common issue that many people experience. There are several possible reasons why your teeth may feel sore in the morning:

  1. Bruxism (teeth grinding): Grinding or clenching your teeth during sleep, known as bruxism, can lead to tooth soreness. This condition is often associated with stress, anxiety, or an abnormal bite. The pressure and friction from grinding can cause muscle soreness in the jaw and tooth sensitivity.
  2. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD): TMJD refers to a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint and the muscles surrounding it. It can cause jaw pain, stiffness, and tooth discomfort. If you have TMJD, the muscles may become tense during sleep, leading to tooth soreness upon waking up.
  3. Sinus congestion or infection: Sinus congestion or infections can cause referred pain to the upper teeth, leading to soreness. If you have nasal congestion or sinus issues, the pressure changes during sleep can contribute to tooth sensitivity or discomfort.
  4. Tooth decay or cavities: If you have dental decay or cavities, you may experience toothaches or soreness, especially when biting down. Bacterial activity in the mouth increases during sleep due to reduced saliva production, which can exacerbate tooth pain.
  5. Gum disease: Gingivitis or periodontitis, which are forms of gum disease, can cause tooth sensitivity and soreness. The buildup of plaque and tartar can irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and discomfort in the teeth.

If you consistently experience tooth soreness when waking up, it is important to visit a dentist for a thorough evaluation. They will be able to diagnose the specific cause of your tooth soreness and provide appropriate treatment options or recommendations.

ways to prevent teeth from being sore

Is it normal for your teeth to hurt when you wake up?

Occasional tooth sensitivity or mild discomfort upon waking up may not be unusual and can be attributed to various factors, including changes in sleep position, sinus congestion, or temporary jaw tension.

However, persistent or severe tooth pain after waking up is not considered normal and should be evaluated by a dentist. Tooth pain can be a sign of an underlying dental issue that requires attention, such as tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding), or other oral health conditions.

A dental professional can examine your teeth, identify the cause of the pain, and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate your discomfort. It’s always a good idea to consult with a dentist if you have persistent or concerning tooth pain.

It is estimated that most of us grind or clench our teeth at some point in our lives.

How do I stop my teeth from hurting in the morning?

If you frequently experience tooth pain or soreness in the morning, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate or prevent it:

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth. Proper oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can contribute to tooth pain.
  2. Use a mouthguard: If you grind your teeth during sleep (bruxism), using a mouthguard or splint can help reduce the pressure and protect your teeth. A dentist can create a custom-fitted mouthguard that suits your specific needs.
  3. Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can contribute to teeth grinding and jaw tension. Engage in stress management techniques like exercise, meditation, deep breathing, or activities you enjoy to help reduce stress levels.
  4. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to teeth grinding and disrupted sleep patterns. Limit your consumption of these substances, particularly in the evening, to promote better sleep quality and reduce tooth pain in the morning.
  5. Maintain a proper sleep position: Sleeping on your back or side can help alleviate pressure on your jaw and teeth, reducing the likelihood of tooth pain. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it can strain the jaw and lead to discomfort.
  6. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water helps maintain saliva production, which plays a vital role in protecting teeth and preventing tooth sensitivity. Adequate hydration can also help alleviate sinus congestion, reducing referred tooth pain.
  7. Visit your dentist regularly: Schedule routine dental check-ups to identify and address any underlying dental issues that may be causing your tooth pain. Your dentist can provide professional advice tailored to your specific situation and recommend appropriate treatments or remedies.

Remember, if you experience persistent or severe tooth pain, it’s important to consult with a dentist for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Why do my bottom teeth hurt in the morning?

If you experience pain specifically in your bottom teeth in the morning, there could be several potential causes:

  1. Bruxism (teeth grinding): Grinding your teeth during sleep can lead to soreness in the bottom teeth. The pressure and friction from grinding can cause muscle soreness in the jaw and affect the bottom teeth more prominently.
  2. Misalignment or abnormal bite: If your teeth are misaligned or your bite is not properly aligned, it can result in uneven pressure on the teeth. Over time, this can lead to discomfort or pain, particularly in the bottom teeth.
  3. Gum disease: Gingivitis or periodontitis, which are forms of gum disease, can cause gum inflammation and recession. If the gum tissue around the bottom teeth is affected, it can lead to tooth sensitivity or discomfort.
  4. Tooth decay or cavities: Bottom teeth can be more susceptible to tooth decay, especially if there are difficulties in cleaning them properly. If decay or cavities are present, it can result in toothaches or pain in the bottom teeth.
  5. Sinus congestion or infection: Sinus issues, such as congestion or infections, can cause referred pain to the bottom teeth. The pressure changes and inflammation in the sinus area can lead to discomfort in the lower teeth.

1. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching

The most common cause of sore teeth when waking up is the grinding and clenching of teeth while asleep.

The majority of people who experience this issue usually clench and/or grind their teeth while asleep.

In fact, 1 in 10 people grind or clench their teeth at night.

This might be caused by many things including stress, dreaming and irregular temperatures at night amongst other reasons. A person who clenches and grinds his or her teeth at night will not have control of this situation, since it is not possible to stop clenching and grinding of teeth while asleep.

Therefore, if such a person does not find the right solution, the problem will persist and the person will be waking up with complaints of ‘my teeth are sore’ and slowly making the teeth flatter and more susceptible to cracks & breakage. Jaw pain can accompany this. This makes it paramount to find a permanent and effective solution to solve this problem.

Don’t know if you’re grinding your teeth? The most convenient and effective solution to waking up with sore teeth because of grinding and clenching of the teeth at night is the use of a dental night guard. These guards are effective because they prevent the teeth from coming into contact at night, and even if the person wearing the night guard clenches or grinds the teeth, there will be no negative effect.

Custom made night guards (based on a dental impression of your teeth) are far superior to store bought dental night guards. Custom guards are also easy to put on and remove and they can be worn by almost anyone. Finding the right night guard for you can sometimes be tricky.

A custom made dental night guard (made from a dental impression of your teeth) is almost universally recommended by dentists and researchers alike over the stock, store bought types. Skip dental office prices and get your night guard to stop your sore teeth directly from the lab!

2. Food stuck in your teeth

Another common cause of teeth soreness while waking up is eating foods and failing to brush while going to bed. Some of the common foods that usually cause this problem include hard foods whose particles might remain on the teeth, or meats that get in between the cracks.

These food particles will have a negative effect on you while sleeping which can easily cause teeth soreness. The most effective way of avoiding this problem is ensuring that you brush and floss prior to sleeping. Through brushing and flossing one can remove the food particles that might have remained on the teeth and therefore have a comfortable night.

3. Sleep positions

People who tend to sleep in certain positions might wake up with their teeth feeling sore. For instance, placing the hands below the face, especially on the jaw area, or sleeping with your face on something hard like rings or bracelets (it’s common for people nowadays to sleep with their phone right next to them) can cause the teeth to be sore.

woman sleeping on her side can cause teeth to be sore

Pay attention to where the pain/soreness is being distributed. Is it just on one side? Both sides? Upper teeth? Lower teeth?
A person who usually moves his or her face towards the rail of the bed might also make the teeth feel sore in the morning. The ideal solution for teeth soreness caused by these issues is ensuring that one removes all jewelry before going to bed, and puts their phone on a nightstand nearby.

One should also practice placing the hands away from the face while sleeping. It is also helpful to try sleeping far away from the bed rails and placing a pillow between yourself and the rail, so as to avoid placing the face along the rails while asleep.

Other possible reasons my teeth are sore

4. Have you had a dental appointment or cleaning lately?

Sometimes getting your teeth and gums probed and prodded with dental tools can cause some continued soreness. This will usually subside within a few days after treatment and should not cause alarm.

5. Sprained tooth syndrome (STS)

This can form from a number of things; such as an overfilled filling or crown, cold allergy/sinus issues, or shifting of teeth. Additionally,  crunching , grinding or opening the mouth continuously can aggravate the tooth & ligament that is attached to the tooth, and even exacerbate clenching and grinding.

Sometimes STS can arise from a small minor accident like crunching on a pointy, sticky or chewy food & worsen from that point. Dental treatment for STS may include changing the patients bite, Ibuprofen, the use of sensitive toothpaste and/or a dental night guard.

You should seek professional dental help if you suspect you may be suffering from STS as this syndrome can be complex.

What do you think? Have you suffered from morning teeth soreness?

  • Yes I do and it’s because I grind my teeth
  • Yes I do and it’s because I clench my teeth
  • I do and I don’t know why
  • I do have tooth soreness and its because of another reason entirely. Tell us why in the comment section!
  • It could be because I’m not brushing/flossing my teeth enough
  • It could be because of my sleep position, phone in bed with me, railing, jewelry, etc

Solving the problem of grinding and clenching by wearing a custom night guard is now a convenient solution because these guards are easily accessible online. A person who might need a dental night guard can complete the entire process without ever having to leave their house.

Don’t know if you should go through an online night guard lab or pay your dentist? There are some instances when you should definitely go through the dentist. If you’re suffering from TMJ, jaw alignment issues or if your dentist recommends making you a special type of night guard involving metal clasps or ramps, you will need him/her to fabricate that type of special appliance for you.

why do my teeth hurt when i wake up
Pictured: Standard night guard for general bruxing (jaw clenching, teeth grinding)

The process of buying a Sentinel Night Guard is simple and the payment modes with features that include PayPal are secure and user-friendly.

Furthermore, purchasing your new night guard from Sentinel Mouth Guards is way less expensive than what a dentist charges.

There can be other reasons why you might complain that “my teeth are sore” that are not listed in this article. Discuss your tooth soreness with your dentist. He/she can take x-rays to see if there are some visual signs of trouble in one or more of your teeth. A dentist can also perform sleep tests and examine your teeth for fracture lines or dental damage if you are indeed grinding or clenching at night.

Do you have something to add to this article? Please do! See the comment section below.


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store

Verified By

medically verified by dr greg grillo dds
Dr. Greg Grillo -Dentist at Grillo Robeck Dental

Doctor of Dental Surgery
University of Washington School of Dentistry

Born and raised in the Okanogan Valley, Dr. Greg enjoys being part of this unique corner of the world. He spent 8 years at the University of Washington, receiving a bachelors degree with Honors before attending dental school on the same campus. Selected for a Health Profession's Scholarship by the U.S. Navy, Dr. Greg then served in the USN as a dental officer for 4 years. He received advanced training in multiple specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of squadron military members overseas. After tours of duty in South Carolina and Japan, and over 300 hours of additional formal education beyond dental school, he returned home in 1999 to join his father, Dr. Jerry Grillo. He especially enjoys caring for growing families in his practice, and incorporating technologies that enhance the patient experience while taking numerous continuing education courses on all aspects of dentistry. He and his wife, Lisa, have 3 children and are involved in a variety of community activities in the Omak area. Outside the office, he can be found snow skiing, hiking, playing tennis, or just enjoying the outdoors.

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