Updated: Dec 18, 2018
Teeth Grinding or jaw clenching is a habit that affects around 10% of the UK population at some point in their lives.
The medical term for this is Bruxism.
Much of the time people will have this habit without any adverse effects and it may only be a temporary thing.
For many others though, it can be a permanent habit, one that they are often unaware of, as it happens subconsciously in their sleep.
Regular teeth grinding can not only cause the individual headaches and earache but can cause the teeth to be worn down
Bruxism also affects people when they're awake, although this is more likely to be clenching the teeth and jaw, rather than grinding their teeth. Most people do it subconsciously while concentrating or when they're in stressful situations.
Whilst the majority of Bruxism cases can be attributed to stress and anxiety, a few other underlying factors may be the cause:
Obstrctuctive sleep apnoea (OSA). This is a sleep disorder where your breathing is interrupted during sleep. There is thought to be an association between the two disorders although it is yet to be fully understood.
Medication. Teeth grinding can be a side effect taking certain antipsychotic or antidepressant medications.
Lifestyle. The use of recreational drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine can increase your risk of developing Bruxism, even regularly smoking or drinking alcohol is thought to increase the possibility of it developing.
Making lifestyle changes can be one way of reducing/stopping the habit.
Alternatively you may find a visit to your dentist useful; they can create special mouth guards or splints to wear at night which will ease the sensation of teeth clenching and prevent your teeth from being ground down any further
For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180