Up to a third of adults grind their teeth in the daytime and more than 10% do it unknowingly while they sleep, studies show.
Stress is the leading cause of teeth grinding, according to Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein, a cosmetic dentist in New York City.
“If you are very stressed and taking anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medications, a side effect from those pills is bruxism, also known as teeth grinding,” he told Fox News Digital.
Rubinshtein offers expert advice on how to pinpoint — and stop — teeth grinding.
Signs of teeth grinding
“If you wake up with jaw pain, neck pain, headaches or facial pain, you are most likely grinding or clenching your teeth at night,” the dentist said.
Other signs include the edges of the teeth being worn down or the teeth becoming more sensitive, he added.
meRubinshtein also recommends asking your partner if they hear you grinding or making tapping sounds with your teeth, as these motions are usually loud enough to detect.
“You may also ask your partner if they’ve noticed snoring, as that can be a sign of sleep apnea, which can cause you to grind your teeth,” he added.
Negative health impacts
Teeth grinding can cause tooth sensitivity, biting issues, TMJ, temporalis and neck pain, Rubinshtein warned.
“It not only damages your teeth, it also puts tension on the muscles of the head and neck,” he said. “Once the teeth have been reduced from teeth grinding, the only way to fix it is with porcelain or composite restoration.”
Causes of teeth grinding
As mentioned above, stress is a common culprit behind teeth grinding.
“We all know that stress can affect our health, our sleep habits and our skin, but stress can also damage your teeth,” Rubinshtein said.
Since the start of the pandemic, his practice has experienced a sharp uptick in patients seeking treatment for issues caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching, he said.
Those with aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personalities are also more susceptible to the habit, the dentist said.
“Certain medications, tobacco and caffeine can also lead to teeth grinding,” he added.
Some methods to reduce teeth grinding include night guards, bite evaluations, Botox and muscle relaxants, according to Rubinshtein. It can also go away on its own.
Holistic practices such as meditation, yoga, light exercise and other de-stressing activities can also help, he added.
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