Health

This could be why you’re grinding your teeth

If you suffer from teeth grinding, you know just how irritating and painful it can be. The problem tends to occur when we’re asleep, and it can cause some very real problems, including headaches, neck and jaw pain, and even worn tooth enamel. Because it’s often an unconscious habit, many of us don’t realize we’re dealing with teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, until complications begin to develop. This is why health professionals, including those at the Mayo Clinic, highly recommend seeking regular dental care and maintenance.

But why does teeth grinding happen in the first place? Clenching, grinding, or gnashing the teeth can have various causes: genetics, consuming caffeinated beverages or alcohol, and smoking cigarettes, just to name a few. It also is a rare side effect of some psychiatric medications, including antidepressants. However, according to The National Sleep Foundation, stress is one of the most significant risk factors of sleep bruxism. 

Stress could be causing you to grind your teeth

A study from the Journal of Research in Personality showed that, compared to those who do not grind their teeth, those who do tend to report greater life stress and are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. It’s not exactly surprising that stress and teeth grinding are related, but it’s important to know when it’s time to seek help.

Reducing stress is the best way to treat teeth grinding, and you can also opt to use a mouthguard at night to help manage the problem, per Healthline. What’s more, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center suggests that muscle relaxers can help teeth grinding, as well as Botox injections, which paralyze the jaw muscles that are used during teeth grinding. Though not approved by the FDA, dentist Katayoun Omrani of the Cedars-Sinai Pain Center says the Botox treatment has been used since the 1990s and is safe, very effective, and won’t change the appearance of the face. Of course, you should always speak to a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment or taking any medications.

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