Bruxism: How It Can Affect Your Life

Teeth grinding from woman
  • Bruxism is a medical term that describes clenching or grinding teeth caused by stress, medications, or sleep disorders.
  • Risk factors for bruxism include stress, medications, sleep disorders, alcohol/caffeine consumption, and hard/chewy foods.
  • Treatments for bruxism include surgery, mouthguards, and relaxation techniques.
  • To reduce the risk of bruxism, one should manage stress levels, avoid alcohol/caffeine/tobacco, and speak with a dentist about a mouthguard.
  • If left untreated, bruxism can cause serious dental issues such as chipped teeth, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, and headaches.

Do you ever wake up with aching teeth or a sore jaw? Do your loved ones complain that you grind your teeth in your sleep? If so, you may be suffering from a condition called bruxism.

Bruxism is a common problem that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It can cause significant discomfort, damage teeth, and even interfere with a good night’s sleep. But what is bruxism, and what can you do about it? Here’s everything you need to know about bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical term used to describe clenching or grinding your teeth. Some people grind their teeth during the day, while others do it subconsciously during sleep. Bruxism usually causes no harm if done occasionally, but if done regularly, it can lead to serious dental issues such as chipped teeth, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, and headaches.

Risk Factors

Bruxism can happen to anybody, but certain risk factors can leave you more vulnerable than others. Here are some common risk factors for the disorder:

Stressed woman at work


One of the most common risk factors for bruxism is stress. When stressed, you may clench your jaw or grind your teeth without realizing it. This can cause a lot of tension in your jaw muscles, leading to pain, soreness, and even tooth damage. Anxiety can also make the problem worse.

To reduce the risk of bruxism, you can do relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, and yoga. You may also find it helpful to speak with a mental health professional who can help you develop coping strategies to manage stress.


Another risk factor for bruxism is certain medications. Some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants can cause teeth grinding as a side effect. If you think your medication may be causing bruxism, speak with your healthcare provider.

Sleep disorders

Bruxism is also associated with sleep disorders like sleep apnea or snoring. When you have a sleep disorder, your breathing may be disrupted, leading to teeth grinding as your body tries to open the airway. If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider to see if you need a sleep study to diagnose and treat the problem.

Lifestyle Factors

Lastly, there are a variety of lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of bruxism. For example, drinking alcohol or caffeine, using tobacco products, and chewing gum can all contribute to teeth grinding. Additionally, certain foods, such as those that are chewy or hard, can stress your teeth and jaw extra. To reduce the risk of bruxism, try to minimize your consumption of substances that can irritate your mouth and jaw, and choose foods that are easy to chew.


There are various ways to deal with bruxism. Here are some of them:

Surgery preparation


Depending on the severity of your bruxism, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure. A jaw surgery can correct misalignment or other issues causing teeth grinding. It can also help reduce pain and other symptoms associated with the condition.


A mouthguard is a device that covers the teeth to protect them from grinding at night. It can also help prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw. If you have bruxism, ask your dentist for advice on which type of mouthguard is best for you.

Relaxation Techniques

Learning how to relax and manage your stress levels can help reduce the risk of bruxism. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can help you become more aware of your body to catch yourself before grinding your teeth. Additionally, speaking with a therapist or counselor about your stress and anxiety can be beneficial in reducing bruxism symptoms.

Bruxism is a common condition that affects millions of people. It is often caused by stress or certain medications but can also be associated with sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea. To reduce the risk of bruxism, try various proactive options such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Additionally, your dentist can recommend a mouthguard to protect your teeth from grinding at night.

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