Good to know: why some people grind their teeth

Grinding, grating, pressing - some people work hard with their jaws at night.

Good to know: why some people grind their teeth

Grinding, grating, pressing - some people work hard with their jaws at night. However, many sufferers do not realize that they are grinding their teeth in their sleep. Teeth grinders often only know about it when they wake up their partner with it at night. Nocturnal jaw activity can become a problem. But why do some people grind their teeth in the first place?

It is estimated that one third of the population grinds their teeth. In one fifth, this develops into a chronic problem. More women than men are affected. Teeth are usually clenched, rubbed or pressed together during sleep. This is because in the unconscious - but especially during sleep - the protective reflexes against chewing too much are not active. Teeth grinding: Inside, the teeth press together with much more pressure than when chewing. Some people only clench their jaws while they sleep without clenching their teeth, which can also lead to pain.

If the teeth are pressed together with great pressure, tooth enamel is rubbed off. The consequences: tension in the jaw muscles, which can lead to pain in the head, neck or face area. In addition, abrasion can lead to severe tooth damage and even tooth loss.

When stressed, people subconsciously tense the muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, but also in the face and jaw area. In bruxism, as the technical term for teeth grinding is, the teeth are literally clenched. A major factor in this behavior is stress. The health insurance company AOK reports that most people grind their teeth between the ages of 30 and 45. Physicians distinguish teeth grinding during sleep (sleep bruxism) from waking (waking bruxism) - yes, some people also grind their teeth during the day.

But not only stress can lead to teeth grinding. If the bite is not correct, teeth grinding can result. The causes can be misaligned teeth, ill-fitting crowns or fillings that don’t fit. The influence of excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol and nicotine is also discussed in science. A genetic predisposition or diseases such as sleep apnea or reflux can also be the reason for bruxism.

Anyone who often has pain or tension in their jaw muscles after waking up or discovers traces of grinding on their teeth should go to a dentist to check whether they are chronically grinding their teeth. In the practice, it can then be clarified whether a misaligned tooth or an illness could be the cause of bruxism. Treatment for teeth grinding depends on the triggers.

If teeth grinding is stress-related, relaxation methods such as autogenic training, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation can help. What immediately protects the teeth from further abrasion is a bite splint that is worn at night. It is made of plastic and sits on the upper or lower jaw.

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Sources: AOK, Society for Dental Health, Function and Aesthetics, Netdoktor, Dentists Hamburg