Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is one of the most common teeth-related disorders experienced by both adults and children alike. While some people experience teeth grinding while they’re awake (known as daytime bruxism), many individuals only grind their teeth at night while they’re asleep.
Teeth grinding can result in a variety of negative health consequences, including abnormal tooth wear, aching jaw muscles, and headaches. Sleep bruxism is also linked to a higher risk of experiencing other sleep disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnea.
Teeth grinding can be painful and incredibly frustrating, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it. Fortunately, once you’ve identified the cause, there are a variety of ways you can treat sleep bruxism, including addressing the root cause, or using a mouthguard.
As always, however, do be sure to consult a medical professional for self-diagnosing or treating any medical condition. With that in mind, here are the top three reasons why you might be suffering from sleep bruxism at night.
Stress or Anxiety
One of the leading causes of sleep bruxism is going to bed feeling stressed or anxious. Studies have found that negative feelings — such as stress and anxiety, as well as emotions such as anger or frustration — increase a person’s likelihood of grinding their teeth at night.
This may be because going to bed with negative feelings can often result in less peaceful sleep, as well as stressful or otherwise distressing dreams that may overstimulate the brain and cause teeth or jaw movement, such as clenching or grinding.
While going to bed stressed or anxious may seem like an unfortunate inevitability in the modern world, there are some strategies you can try to help relax before going to bed. Guided meditation can help you to clear your mind and let go of your worries right before bed, making sleep bruxism less likely.
Drinking a calming tea, such as chamomile or lavender, can also help you to destress and decompress before bed. Stress and anxiety can ruin your sleep in ways other than sleep bruxism, as well, so it’s always a good idea to try to let go of negative feelings before you fall asleep.
Competitiveness or Aggression
Another common factor that can increase the risk of experiencing sleep bruxism is having an overly competitive or aggressive personality. Individuals who are quick to anger or experience a high level of stress and anxiety in competitive situations can often result in teeth grinding at night, due to high emotional responses to dreams or simply tenseness in the body.
Changing your personality tendencies can be very difficult, but working towards goals for self-improvement such as increasing your self-esteem and practicing mindfulness can be helpful in combating an aggressive or competitive personality. Other solutions such as mouthguards can be helpful in the short term.
Genetic and Age Factors
Finally, genetics and age can be a large determinant in whether a person experiences sleep bruxism. In general, younger children and teens experience a greater level of teeth grinding at night, growing out of the practice as they get older.
Sleep bruxism can also be a genetically inherited trait, as some genetic determinants can increase the risk of experiencing teeth grinding when sleeping. In these cases, one of the best solutions is the use of a mouthguard in order to prevent damage to your teeth while sleeping.
If you’re grinding your teeth at night, a mouthguard can help protect them. To learn more, please contact us today. Or, if you’re ready to stop your grinding tonight, please browse our selection of nighttime mouthguards now.