Three Factors that Might Contribute to Your Nighttime Teeth Grinding

stressed woman with grinding teeth, bruxism symptoms; portrait of stressful, exhausted, tired sleeping woman grinding teeth on bed; oral wellness, dental care medical conceptDaytime headaches and soreness in your jaw can be signs of bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, and significantly impact your overall function. While it may be able to be managed with a custom sleep appliance, addressing the concern needs to begin at the source. From anxiety levels to jaw misalignment, and even to attempts for regulating breathing, a myriad of factors can contribute to your bruxism concern. What’s more, it can cause serious threats to your oral health if left unmanaged. For this reason, your Houston, TX dentist at SleepWell Houston wants to inform you of three factors that could contribute to teeth grinding and how it impacts your health.

An Attempt to Regulate Breathing

Bruxism is closely tied to the body’s natural instincts to survive. What this means, is that if you grind your teeth while asleep, chances are it is because your body is actively doing so to help you breathe more efficiently. This occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat tighten, pulling the back of the tongue forward. If it is left untreated, bruxism can cause the surfaces of teeth to become worn, leaving an increased chance for harmful bacteria to cause decay and infect an oral structure due to a decreased level of strength. Additionally, this could be indicative that you are experiencing a form of sleep apnea, in which the throat muscles relax and cause your airway to become restricted. Seeking the assistance of an informed dental provider can help to identify what course of action would be best for you.

Jaw Misalignment

In addition to an attempt to regulate your airflow, constant grinding can cause your jaw to become misaligned and ultimately develop into temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. When this occurs, you may experience a popping or clicking of the jaw as it attempts to realign and fix the concern. Usually this can be treated with a custom appliance, such as a splint to aid the lower jaw in falling back into its natural position, but it is imperative to seek the help of your dentist to get a better look and understanding of your situation.

Stress and Anxiety

When you grind your teeth at night, it may be due to your overall levels of anxiety and stress within your environment. Anxiety can cause an individual to be on edge and cause tension by biting down hard and grinding when unconscious or unaware. It may also result in damage to the cheeks and surrounding tissues from biting. For more information, contact your dentist for an accurate assessment.

Learn More

Don’t let nighttime bruxism cause a threat to your oral health. Contact SleepWell Houston in Houston, TX by calling 713-796-9600 to learn how you can address it today.