Grinding teeth and jaw problems

Teeth grinding is the act of involuntarily grinding your top teeth against your bottom teeth. This usually occurs when you are asleep or preoccupied with a certain activity and a lot of the time you don’t realise you are doing it! Teeth grinding is related to jaw clenching which is where you clamp your teeth together. Chronic tooth grinding is known as bruxism.

The most common cause of grinding is stress and anxiety. Anxiety or worries buried in our minds can cause us to clench our teeth. Other common causes are age, our personality type, medications, alcohol/drug use as well as mental health and medical conditions.

The most effective way to treat teeth grinding is to wear a specialised sleeping appliance known as a bite guard or night guard. These are very similar to a mouthguard or retainers and are comfortable to wear without disrupting your sleep. They provide a cushioning barrier to stop the teeth from fully coming into contact with each other and therefore help to prevent further wear and tear on the teeth. They are comfortable to wear and become accustomed to the mouth. Focusing on relaxing your jaw through certain exercises also helps to relax jaw tension. Speak to your dentist if you would like any help and advice.