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What is bruxism and does it affect oral health?

bruxism night grinding of teeth

Bruxism is a common condition that affects almost 30% of the adult population. But what is it, and how does it affect your oral health? Not many people are aware that they suffer from bruxism until they experience negative consequences from this habit. Bruxism can also be referred to as tooth grinding, clenching, or jaw grinding. It’s a subconscious activity in which the individual grinds their teeth together either intentionally or unintentionally. Although it’s possible for people of any age to develop this condition, it’s more commonly seen among those who are stressed, anxious or have a strong reaction to certain stimuli (such as caffeine). Bruxism is also known as night grinding.

What causes bruxism?

The actual cause of bruxism or night grinding is not entirely understood. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, or other external factors that are out of your control. In these cases, no long-term damage will occur to your teeth and gums. However, it can also be caused by misaligned teeth or an incorrect bite that causes excessive pressure on the teeth while they’re being gnawed on by the jaw muscles.

teeth grinding bruxism
Bruxism is also known as night grinding.

This is more likely to happen if you’ve had orthodontic treatment. Even if you’re not experiencing any discomfort, bruxism can still cause damage to your teeth and gums over time. Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent this damage. But if you’re grinding your teeth, it will be hard to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Bruxism symptoms

Excessive tooth wear: If you’re grinding your teeth, you’ll probably notice that your teeth become stained and worn down. This might cause one or more teeth to become loose and may require their extraction.

Sore jaw: Bruxism can cause pain in the jaw, which can happen without any noticeable grinding. This can be from the stress caused by clenching your teeth in anticipation of an event that’s causing you anxiety.

Headaches: Regular headaches may be caused by tension headaches caused by bruxism.

Bad breath: The bacteria from your saliva can build up on your teeth, causing bad breath.

Why is bruxism bad for your teeth?

While bruxism itself doesn’t cause any long-term damage to your teeth, it can lead to more serious problems if it’s not treated. Excessive wear on your teeth can cause them to become loose and eventually fall out, especially if they’ve had root canal treatment or are already loose, to begin with.

night grinding vs healthy teeth

If a tooth is being worn down from the grinding, the tooth enamel will become weaker and more easily decayed. This creates an opportunity for bacteria to enter your bloodstream, possibly causing an infection. The pressure caused by grinding your teeth can also cause them to become misaligned and you may require orthodontic treatment to correct this. Bruxism can also lead to other oral health problems, such as gum disease. This can be caused by the bacteria in your saliva entering your gums.

How to treat bruxism

Change your habits: If you grind your teeth while you’re awake, the best thing you can do is to make an effort to do something else with your hands or a different activity to take your mind off the stress. This can range from knitting, pen clicking, or playing with a fidget spinner.

Brushing and flossing: It goes without saying that regular brushing and flossing will help prevent bacteria from building up and causing gum disease. In addition to this, you can also try using a mouth guard to protect your teeth from excessive wear.

Make an appointment with your dentist: If you suspect that you have bruxism, make an appointment with your dentist to have it diagnosed. They can advise you on the best way to protect your teeth and gums while managing the condition.

If you often feel anxious or worried, it can cause a condition called bruxism, which can seriously damage your teeth, your gums, and even your jaw. So, here’s what you need to know about it. What is Bruxism? Bruxism is a condition that’s caused by anxiety and makes you habitually grind your teeth and clench your jaw.


It’s important to recognize the signs of bruxism and get help if you have the symptoms. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth can also help prevent damage caused by excessive tooth wear. While bruxism itself isn’t a serious condition, it can lead to more serious dental problems if left untreated.

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