Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding 101 – How to Spot it (and stop it)

Apr 11, 2024 | Dentistry, Oral Care

Are you grinding your teeth at night? You may be suffering from the signs when you wake up. 

In this article we’ll walk you through how you can check to see if you’re grinding your teeth, and some simple tips and tricks to help. 

Here are 3 signs you might be grinding your teeth at night:

  1. You wake up with jaw or muscle pain
  2. Your teeth look flat and worn
  3. Your teeth are chipping away or breaking 

When you grind your teeth you’re giving your jaw a workout all night long. Plus, you may wear away at the ridges that help you chew and keep your smile healthy. 

So, if you’re grinding, what can you do about it?

How common is teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding at night is very common (nearly 1 in 10 adults experience night time grinding1). 

Grinding your teeth could be the result of a few factors:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Side effect of certain medications
  • Improper bite or jaw alignment

Everyone is different, and your smile is unique. The reasons you might be grinding are different from your neighbor, or your loved ones. 

How can I tell if I’m grinding my teeth at night?

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth:

  1. Morning jaw soreness or headaches
  2. Flattened, chipped, or broken teeth
  3. Painful or sensitive teeth
  4. Noise from grinding that disturbs sleep (yours, or your partner’s)

The severity of your symptoms depends on how long you’ve been grinding, and if there are any underlying issues with your teeth. In some cases, the pain goes away shortly after waking up. But for other people, the pain continues throughout the day. 

How can I alleviate the pain from teeth grinding?

For those of you who experience this, there are a few quick tips that may help alleviate this:

  1. Stress reduction
  2. Mindful diet
  3. Jaw relaxation techniques
  4. Wear a night guard

1. Stress reduction

Sometimes, the source of nighttime teeth grinding is stress. Various stress reduction techniques have been found to alleviate grinding. Meditation, gentle yoga, or reading before bed can help to calm the nervous system and promote better, more restful sleep. 

Find the stress reduction technique that works best for you and try it 30-60 minutes before bed. In some cases, this seemingly simple approach can reduce or even eliminate nighttime teeth grinding.

2. Mindful diet

Cutting back on caffeine and avoiding certain foods before bedtime can also have a big impact. Food that works your jaw like hard foods and gum can contribute to nighttime teeth grinding. 

Reducing the amount you eat these foods, and avoiding them entirely at night, can help reduce nighttime grinding. 

3. Jaw relaxation techniques

Gentle stretches and massaging your jaw muscles can alleviate tension. There are certain exercises and stretch techniques that have proven effective for alleviating teeth grinding. 

4. Wear a night guard

Some of these may work better for you than others. Give it a try and see if it helps alleviate your symptoms. In some cases, these can solve it completely, but if you are still struggling you can always consult your dentist for a more accurate diagnosis. 

Many dentists recommend wearing a night guard if you’re experiencing the symptoms of teeth grinding. There are many health benefits of wearing a night guard. 

What are the benefits of wearing a night guard?

Night guards work as a barrier between your teeth. They absorb and distribute the force when you clench or grind, which has a variety of benefits. The barrier between your upper and lower teeth also alleviates some of the stress on the jaw muscles.

  1. Prevents Damage: Protects against wear and tear on your teeth over time.
  2. Reduces Pain: Alleviates jaw pain, headaches, and other bruxism-related symptoms.
  3. Promotes Better Sleep: Helps ensure a more restful, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

How can I get a night guard?

There are two main places to get a night guard – over- the- counter or from your local dentist. 

We recommend you come in for an appointment for a consultation so we can help you find the solution that’s right for you. 

At Fountainhead Dentistry, we custom design our night guards using the latest technology to make sure it fits your smile perfectly. Custom night guards tend to be more comfortable and effective, unlike over-the-counter night guards that may not fit as well. Using an ill-fitting night guard could lead to other issues like jaw pain or headaches.

If you’d like to come in for a consultation, please book an appointment or contact our office. We’re here to help you and your smile! 



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