It can be quite difficult to assess what the main causes of teeth grinding actually are, as the problems causing this condition can be quite complex. The majority of teeth grinding or to give it its correct medical term, bruxism, takes place at night and a lot of people don’t feel the symptoms for quite some time so they are unaware it is even happening. Most experts agree that one of the major triggers for bruxism is stress.
It can occur as a reaction to high-pressure situations, and chronic stress is a condition that is more common to women rather than men. Bruxism tends to be found in a certain type of person who reacts negatively to stress and who is unable to manage it properly, and people who grind their teeth are more likely to feel frustration, pain and anger. It’s not unusual for anyone suffering from teeth grinding to also exhibit other symptoms such as biting the tops of pens and pencils, their nails, their lips or even the insides of their cheeks.
Other main causes of teeth grinding include certain medications such as antidepressants. Anyone who has noticed a correlation between developing this condition and starting a new medication should consult their medical practitioner to see if there are any alternatives, but should never stop taking their medication without taking the proper advice. It’s also been associated with drug use such as amphetamines. Smoking can also exacerbate teeth grinding.
Bruxism can also occur in people who have diets high in sugar, alcohol and caffeine which can disrupt sleep patterns if consumed late in the evening. Changing this type of diet to a more wholesome one that doesn’t contain so many stimulants might help. Some experts believe that nutritional deficiencies may also contribute towards bruxism, in particular calcium and magnesium deficiencies, but this is not proven. However calcium is a proven treatment for gastric problems, and conditions such as acid reflux have been associated with bruxism.
Another major cause of teeth grinding is mechanical problems with the bite. This is where a person’s teeth may be misaligned for some reason, causing the teeth to meet together incorrectly. Misaligned teeth meeting together can send impulses to the brain which may prompt it to send signals to the muscles causing them to contract creating the grinding and clenching affect.
Some sleep disorders may also trigger bruxism or may be related to the condition. Sufferers from sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have been found for more likely to have this condition. In rare cases it may develop as a side-effect of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. It sometimes develops as part of an obsessive compulsive disorder.
One of the main problems with teeth grinding is that it becomes a habit that may be controlled by the subconscious or the conscious brain, and that this habit can be quite tricky to break. In general the main cause of teeth grinding is likely to be stress-related, but these other factors should be taken into account as well.