Understanding Bruxism: What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Did you know that up to 31% of the population are affected by bruxism, also known as teeth grinding?

If you or your child are struggling with bruxism, you might have noticed tooth damage, mouth and jaw pain, and disturbed sleep.

There are many potential causes for bruxism, and identifying the underlying problem is the first step towards treating the issue. 

Want to learn exactly what causes teeth grinding?

Keep reading.

Issues With Tooth Alignment

Do you have missing or crooked teeth? Or are your teeth misaligned?

Issues with tooth alignment can lead to grinding while you sleep and should be diagnosed and treated by a dentist. An abnormal bite will usually have other symptoms like difficulty speaking and chewing.

Your dentist might recommend treatment involving braces, palate expanders, muscle relaxation exercises, or dental surgery. This should resolve the bruxism and other related issues.


If you or your child suffer from toothache, tooth grinding shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

In the same way that you’d rub or massage an injury elsewhere on the body, it feels natural to grind your teeth in an attempt to reduce the pain of a toothache.

Once the toothache goes away, the bruxism should stop.

If you have persistent toothache without a clear cause, you should always seek dental help – you might have a cavity, abscess, or gum disease which needs professional treatment.


Certain types of medication can increase your chances of grinding your teeth at night.

Teeth grinding is commonly linked to SSRI antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. If you’ve recently started a new medication and noticed teeth grinding as a side effect, be sure to speak to your doctor.

They might recommend that you try a different drug, alter your dosage, or ask you to consider wearing a mouth guard at night.


If none of the above applies, there’s a high chance that your tooth grinding is caused by stress.

Maybe you’ve recently started a new job, moved house, or been through a divorce?

Stress-induced bruxism should pass, and you can make the process easier by trying out relaxation exercises. Try meditating before bed, taking a bubble bath, writing in a journal, or doing light physical exercise.

Until you get things under control, consider wearing a mouthguard at night. This will stop your teeth grinding against each other, preventing serious tooth damage.

Click the link to learn more about mouthguards:

What Causes Teeth Grinding and How Can You Fix It?

Teeth grinding can be caused by misaligned or missing teeth, certain types of medication, and issues with stress.

Instead of wondering what causes teeth grinding, get a medical opinion.

Your dentist will be able to identify and treat any issues with your teeth, while your doctor can keep you informed about the potential side effects of any medication you take.

Regardless of what’s causing your bruxism, techniques to reduce stress should help limit it – so they’re a good place to start if you haven’t discovered the root cause yet.

Want to know more about sleep health issues? Visit our sleep section today.