Why Does Bruxism Happen?

woman clenching teeth-why bruxism happens

Why Does Bruxism Happen?

Bruxism is a common condition that makes you grind, clench or gnash your teeth. Occasional teeth grinding isn’t necessarily a problem, but if it occurs consistently, it can damage your teeth over time. Bruxism happens because of a combination of physical, psychological, and genetic factors. Stress, age, and personality type are all risks for developing bruxism.

Tooth damage, sensitivity, a sore jaw, or a constant headache could all be signs that it’s time to consult a professional. Hicks Dental Group offers bruxism prevention therapy to help our patients avoid the fractures, decay, and tooth loss associated with chronic teeth grinding.  

What Makes Bruxism Worse?

The causes of bruxism are not always apparent, but there are several risk factors that can lead to excessive teeth grinding. One of these factors is age. Bruxism is most common in teenagers, and usually, they outgrow it. 

Certain unidentified genetic factors may increase your risk of grinding your teeth at night, as sleep bruxism tends to run in families. If a relative suffers from bruxism, it is more likely that you will as well. 

Besides age and genetics, other risks for bruxism include:

Physical Risks

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Stimulants like caffeine or illegal drugs
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications
  • An abnormal bite
  • Missing or crooked teeth
  • Medical conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia, or epilepsy
  • Sleep apnea

Psychological Risks

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive personalities
  • Mental health disorders
  • Anger and frustration


Why Does Bruxism Happen at Night?

Suffering from teeth grinding at night is known as sleep bruxism, and it is considered to be a separate condition. Stress is the most common reason for nocturnal teeth grinding, but it is rare to have one identifiable factor as the cause. Anxiety, sleep apnea, caffeine intake, and depression are all possible sleep disruptions that can lead to unconscious grinding and clenching.

Preventing Teeth Grinding

While mild teeth grinding usually doesn’t cause long term damage, severe cases of bruxism can lead to a number of complications. Tension headaches, severe jaw pain, temporomandibular joint disorders, and tooth trauma can all result from grinding your teeth on a regular basis.

Together, mouthguards and stress relief tactics can help you stop grinding your teeth. A consultation with your dentist can help you learn strategies for keeping your teeth healthy and preventing the permanent damage that bruxism causes.

Bruxism Treatment in Prescott

Bruxism happens for a number of reasons, but it can be treated. Drs. Paul, Scott, and Braden Hicks are proud to provide the community of Prescott, Arizona with professional, compassionate dental care. If you think you may be clenching or grinding your teeth but aren’t sure, schedule an appointment, and one of our doctors will examine your mouth for signs of bruxism.

If your jaw is aching, if you have consistent tension headaches, or if your partner is complaining about your teeth grinding during the night, contact our office today. Give us a call at 928-445-6030 and say goodbye to bruxism once and for all.


Photo by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash