What Causes Bruxism

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Bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding, affects millions every night. Regular jaw clenching and teeth grinding can lead to a whole host of dental and health issues, not to mention all that less-than-restful sleep that you and your partner are probably getting.

Let’s take a look at one of the biggest bruxism causes: stress.

The thing about stress

Tension, anxiety, and stress can make it difficult to fully relax at night. That tightness can lead to neck pain, headaches, and even temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ or TMD).

Many of those who brux may not even be aware of the stress, or of the muscle tension it causes. That can create a subconscious cycle that’s hard to break: tooth damage, facial pain, and poor sleep cause more stress; added stress just leads to continued bruxism.

Prioritizing relaxation through self-care — such as starting a meditation practice, getting regular massages, maintaining an exercise routine, or taking time off from work — can make all the difference for both your stress level and your dental health.

Other bruxism causes

While stress is one of the most common triggers for bruxism, it’s not the only contributing factor.


Added sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can all cause or exacerbate bruxism. Decreasing your intake of these foods and beverages can help lower your risk for regular teeth grinding.


Some medications, tobacco, or other substances can also contribute to snoring, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching. They can affect your sleep cycle and increase bruxing.

Sleep disorders

Night terrors, sleep apnea, and other sleep issues can put you at higher risk for bruxism. If you already suffer from a sleep disorder, make sure you keep a close eye out for additional symptoms of bruxism.

Addressing your stress level, diet, and sleep habits are all important when addressing issues with bruxism. But these aren’t quick fixes. If you’re looking for something to help in the meantime, a dental guard can help protect your teeth and keep your mouth healthy. Visit your local Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart to find a SleepRight dental guard that can give you a comfortable custom fit today.

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