Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?

middle aged woman with headache

Have you ever woken up to a sore jaw or throbbing pain in your mouth without any explanation? While mouth pain can be caused by many different things, soreness in your jaw is a telltale sign that you’ve probably been grinding your teeth. 

What is Teeth Grinding

So why do you grind your teeth? Many times, teeth grinding only occurs at night when you clench your jaws while you sleep. Often referred to as bruxism, teeth grinding can  occur in the daytime, but the majority of people experience this while they sleep. The most common way to know you’ve been grinding is experiencing a headache or soreness in your jaw right when you wake up. 


Teeth grinding can be brought on by a few different things. The most common reasons you experience bruxism is if you have:

  • Stress and anxiety (70% of adults grind their teeth because of stress)
  • An abnormal bite or crooked teeth
  • A sleeping disorder

The cause of bruxism is unique to every patient and could be a combination of these factors.

Bruxism in Children

Bruxism is actually fairly common in kids. The good news is that if your kids are grinding their teeth, there’s a good chance they’ll grow out of it. This typically happens when their baby teeth are starting to come in. There should only be cause for concern if they have lost their baby teeth and continue to grind their new adult teeth.

The Risk of Grinding Your Teeth

The threat of grinding your teeth occurs when it’s a routine habit. Occasionally grinding your teeth after a stressful day won’t completely damage your teeth, but overtime will wear down your teeth and threaten their security. Additionally, teeth grinding can go undetected and the damage could only be seen when it’s too late.

Teeth grinding can flatten, chip, loosen, or completely break your teeth. Additionally, it can worsen temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) and create teeth sensitivity. These create bigger dental problems and should be remedied as soon as possible.

Common Remedies

Thankfully, there are options to remedy a bad teeth grinding habit. Remedies include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Wearing a night guard while you sleep
  • Cutting back on caffeine
  • Reducing your alcohol consumption
  • Relaxing your muscles at night by pressing a warm washcloth to your jaw

When to See Your Dentist

If you have been experiencing bruxism for a while and can’t find relief for your achy jaw or headaches in the morning, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. One of the most common treatment options is to have a custom-made mouthguard created to wear while you sleep. This protects your teeth from any further damage.

If you have chipped or cracked a tooth from your bruxism, you should see a dentist right away to repair or replace your damaged tooth. 

Repair and Protect Your Teeth with Park Avenue Dental

Whether you have only recently felt the effects of bruxism or it’s something you’ve been battling for years, trust our friendly team of dentists to determine the best solution for you. Call us to schedule an appointment!