What causes teeth clenching and how you can stop it?

For some people, clenching of teeth is more of a habit and doesn’t lead to any problems or diseases but consistent teeth grinding for years, wears down your jaws and makes them weak. In many instances, teeth clenching also causes severe headaches and earaches.

Now coming down to the reason behind teeth clenching, it is safe to say that almost in 80% of the cases, teeth grinding occurs subconsciously while a person is sleeping. Many contributing factors such as stress or anxiety further aggravate the situation.

Bruxism, the involuntary habitual grinding of teeth (mostly during sleep), is a come-and-go thing which gets worse during stressful situations. In most instances, bruxism is caused in association with other factors. Researchers suggest that there is a link between bruxism and obstructive sleep apsoea (OSA), which is a sleeping disorder where normal breathing is interrupted during sleep.

Intake of antipsychotic and antidepressant medication, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which is a particular type of antidepressant-, can also cause teeth grinding in humans.

A person’s daily life routine can also have an effect on how frequently one gets involved in teeth grinding, for instance, people who have higher intakes of alcohol and tobacco or use recreational drugs such as ecstasy or cocaine, are more prone to developing this disorder.

Doctors refer to teeth grinding caused by an underlying condition as primary bruxism while that caused by additional factors such as a specific condition, medication or daily routine style- is often termed as secondary bruxism.

Coming to the point of how one can stop teeth clenching, listed below are some of the basic ways you can get rid of this disorder.

  • Reducing stress is extremely helpful to overcome this disorder. Try taking deep breaths or going out for a walk in fresh air whenever you feel stressed.
  • Drink loads of water, at least 8 glasses per day.
  • Get proper 6-8 hours of sleep. Try sleeping early at night and waking up on time instead of staying up late and sleeping till afternoon.
  • Buy a teeth grinding mouth guard, on which you can grind on whenever you feel the urge to clench teeth.
  • If you have misaligned teeth, then schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get them fixed with orthodontics or braces, whatever your dentist suggests.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol at all times. Limit your intake of cigarettes, tea, chocolates and coffee- especially before you go to bed at night because these stimulants affect the quality of your sleep, causing you to clench your teeth during sleeping.
  • In case you have a severe bruxism case, where the pain is unbearable, your dentist might recommend a muscle relaxant to you. But remember to use them wisely and with caution since such drugs if become habitual, can cause more harm than benefit.

If you’re waking up with headaches, a sore jaw or neck pain, then it is likely that you’re suffering from bruxism, hence required steps should be taken to get rid of the pain and save your smile.

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