This is how you find out you probably grind your teeth when you sleep We don’t have a lot of control over our bodies when we’re asleep. We roll this way and that, have weird twitches and we snore or babble away.
Another thing you might be doing in your sleep is grinding your teeth. Dentists will often notice if you do so when they examine your teeth, but sometimes they don’t spot it. These are the three symptoms that can reveal to you if you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep.
What happens when you grind your teeth?
When you grind your teeth, this usually happens with quite some force. Most teeth grinders do it subconsciously in their sleep. Someone who is sleeping next to a teeth grinder will hear a very unpleasant grinding noise. People who grind their teeth during the day often don’t make noise while doing it but are more likely to clench their teeth. Grinding means there’s motion involved; clenching happens without it.
There can be multiple different reasons why you’re grinding your teeth at night. Genetics is the cause behind it 40 to 60 per cent of the time. However, other causes can be stress, unresolved trauma, smoking and alcohol use. Teeth grinding happens twice as often in smokers than in non-smokers. Besides this, medicine and drug use can also be responsible.
How do you find out?
There are three big symptoms of teeth grinding you can recognise. The first one is that your teeth start to wear. Since you’re subconsciously applying a lot of pressure to your teeth and moving them around, parts of the enamel on your teeth can come off. You might not notice this immediately, but your dentist will be able to see and point it out to you. They can help you and supply you with a mouthguard that will prevent you from applying too much pressure in the future.
The second symptom that can mean you’re grinding your teeth is frequent headaches. Clenching your jaws can lead to headaches or even migraines. Do you often wake up with a headache? Then that might mean you’ve been grinding your teeth during the night.
When you’re grinding or clenching, you inadvertently apply a lot of pressure to your jaw, which can lead to it being sore. You can notice this when you’re chewing or swallowing. You might also be unable to open your mouth properly and the pain can travel to your ear as well.
There’s no ‘cure’ for teeth grinding, but there are solutions that can alleviate the symptoms. The first thing is to ask your dentist to have a mouthguard made for you to wear at night. Besides that, your dentist might advise you to fix the damage that has been done to your teeth already.
If you clench your jaw a lot, you might be sent to a physiotherapist who will teach you relaxation exercises that will help you change your clenching behaviour. When your problem is caused by mental issues, a psychologist can help you resolve those. If nothing else works, Botox can be a last resort.