Why do you clench your teeth?

Why do you clench your teeth?

February 1, 2021

If you’re noticing headaches, pain in the jaw or face, breakage of fillings or crowns, or wearing down and flattening of teeth, you might be clenching or grinding your teeth.

Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is usually done in our sleep. However, with added stress and anxiety, we’re seeing more people clench their jaw and grind their teeth during the day while they’re awake, too. These habits are known as nocturnal bruxism (when you’re asleep), and awake bruxism (when you’re awake).

So why do we clench our teeth? Let’s cover a few common reasons, and we’ll show you what we can do to help fix the problem.

Stress and anxiety can lead to teeth grinding:

It should be no surprise that coming out of the year 2020, we’re seeing more and more people complaining of tension headaches caused by grinding their teeth. All joking aside, when we get stressed we clench our jaw and grind our teeth. Research has even shown that 70% of us grind our teeth when we’re stressed out.

Drinking caffeine before bed can lead to teeth grinding

Caffeine consumption before bed has been linked to teeth grinding, too. We all need the sweet caffeine nectar from the Gods to stay awake at work, but we recommend switching to decaf or other non-caffeinated drinks after 3pm.

Sleep disorders can lead to teeth grinding

Having a sleep disorder is one of the most common causes of clenching your teeth in your sleep. Chronic snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause frequent interruptions while you sleep, which can lead to excessive grinding and clenching your teeth.

Should you get a mouthguard for sleeping?

At Cherry Hill Dentistry, we often use what’s called an NTI to help prevent tension headaches caused by grinding our teeth in our sleep. All you need to do is schedule a quick scan of your teeth, and we’ll send the results to the lab to have your personal NTI mouthguard created. You can expect to have your NTI mouthguard back in 1-2 weeks, and better sleep (and fewer headaches and facial pain) is just around the corner!

Cherry Hill Dentistry, located in Lincoln, NE, provides exceptional general dental and specialty services for our community.

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