Is Teeth Grinding Caused By Stress?

If you think you’re grinding your teeth at night, you may be wondering what the cause of your condition is. Is teeth grinding (bruxism) caused by stress and anxiety? In this blog from Luck Family Dental, we’ll explore the link between stress and grinding, and help you learn more about this condition. 

Stress Can Contribute To Teeth Grinding

The exact cause of teeth grinding is not known, but stress and anxiety are both often associated with grinding both during the day and at night. One study found that grinding was higher among patients who self-reported feelings of anxiety and stress.

Many people who grind their teeth due to stress are not even aware that they’re doing it, whether they’re grinding at night or during the day. But if it’s left untreated, teeth grinding can cause serious and irreversible damage to your teeth, such as premature wear & tear. 

You may even break your teeth, in severe cases, or suffer from other serious complications like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a painful dysfunction of the joint that connects your jaw to your skull.

Tips To Help With Stress-Related Teeth Grinding 

Wondering how you can deal with stress-related teeth grinding and keep your teeth healthy? Here are a few tips.

  • Get help with stress and anxiety – Depending on your level of stress, you could try things like taking a warm bath before bed, meditation and mindfulness, or reading a book before bed instead of looking at a phone or another screen. But for serious stress and anxiety, it may be worth seeing a therapist.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at night – These substances are known to contribute to grinding, so don’t make consumption of coffee, tea, or wine a nighttime habit.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene – Sleeping in a cool, dark room and taking other steps to improve the quality of your sleep could help with grinding.

  • Get a night guard – Even if you can’t stop grinding, a plastic night guard can protect your teeth, and prevent direct tooth-to-tooth contact, which preserves your teeth and keeps them healthy.

What Else Can Contribute To Teeth Grinding?

Beyond stress, there are a lot of factors that seem to raise the risk of grinding the teeth, including:

  • Poor jaw or teeth alignment – Teeth grinding seems to be partially caused by issues with teeth and jaw alignment. In patients who grind their teeth regularly, an improper bite can also lead to a much higher risk of premature tooth wear & tear and tooth damage.

  • Certain medications and substances – Some substances like alcohol and caffeine are linked to grinding, as are some psychiatric medications like antidepressants.
  • A family history of bruxism – Bruxism seems to occur in families, so you may have a higher risk of teeth grinding if other members of your family grind their teeth.

  • Other disorders – Some mental and physical health disorders like sleep apnea, GERD (gastric reflux), ADHD and Parkinson’s have been linked to a higher prevalence of teeth grinding. 

Get Help For Teeth Grinding In Fort Mill From Dr. Leah R. Luck 

At Luck Family Dental, our Fort Mill, SC family dentist can help you get the dental care you need in Fort Mill. As an experienced dental professional, Dr. Luck can help you understand the factors that may contribute to teeth grinding, and provide treatment options, like a night guard, that will help you get relief from this condition. Don’t wait. Contact us online or call now at (803) 548-6370 to get started right away.

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