Read below about teeth grinding, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your teeth grinding from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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2 Potential Teeth Grinding Causes

  1. 1.Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear, and it connects the jaw to the side of the head. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition which can be caused by excess tension in jaw mucles, faulty alignment between upper and lower teeth, arthritis in the joint, or injury of the jaw or face.

    Outcome is highly case-dependent.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder:
    pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  2. 2.Dental Cavity

    Dental cavities are bacterial infections of the tooth. The bacteria produce acid that breaks down the tooth.

    1 day with proper treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dry mouth, toothache, tooth pain that makes chewing difficult, pain in the top row of teeth, tooth pain that gets worse with hot, cold, or sweet beverages
    Symptoms that never occur with dental cavity:
    spontanenous tooth pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Teeth Grinding

Here are some frequently asked questions about teeth grinding.

Why do people grind their teeth during sleep?

There are two explanations for teeth grinding, or bruxism, during sleep. Micro arousals, or moving to a higher state of arousal, can cause teeth grinding. Secondly, individuals that report a higher stress level or are subjected to stressful environments tend to have a higher degree of sleep grinding. This means poor sleep and stress both seem to be connected to sleep grinding, also known as bruxism.

Is teeth grinding a sign of sleep apnea?

No, but studies have shown a strong association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and teeth grinding, or bruxism. This means that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea have a higher chance of also grinding their teeth or vice-versa.

Why do I keep grinding my teeth during the day?

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, during the day can be due to altered mental states. Smoking, alcohol, and coffee can all cause an increase in teeth grinding during the day. Stress during the day, as well as anger, can also increase teeth grinding. Further, individuals who were taught relaxation techniques tended to have a decrease in the amount of teeth grinding both at night or in the morning.

Can ADHD cause teeth grinding?

Some studies suggest that children that develop teeth grinding, or bruxism, may have a higher chance of developing ADHD or other hyperactivity disorders later in life. There is also an association between mothers with depression and children with teeth grinding, and a well-known link between depression and child stress levels. However, there is no evidence that ADHD causes tooth grinding, only that they are associated.

How do you relax your jaw muscles?

There are many exercises that can help to loosen the jaw, including opening the jaw wide and moving it laterally to either ear while holding it in maximal extension for 15 seconds. Vibrations can also help loosen muscles used for chewing by blowing air through the lips and making a flapping or bubbling sound.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Teeth Grinding

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our teeth grinding symptom checker to find out more.

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Teeth Grinding Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced teeth grinding have also experienced:

    • 5% Headache
    • 3% Fatigue
    • 2% Jaw Pain
  • People who have experienced teeth grinding were most often matched with:

    • 24% Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder
    • 17% Dental Cavity
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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