Sleep Disorders and Teeth Grinding

July 1, 2020

Many people suffer from some form of a sleep disorder and the percentages increase as we age.

About 35 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorders each year. One common sleep disorder Americans face is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the throat muscles obstruct the airways and nasal passageways, causing you to stop breathing for periods of time during the night.

Another common sleeping disorder affecting nearly 30% of the population is teeth grinding. The medical term for teeth grinding is Bruxism. Patients who experience painful teeth grinding have a condition in which they grind, gnash, or clench the teeth. Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder and those who experience bruxism usually have other sleep disorders such as snoring and or sleep apnea.

Symptoms of teeth grinding:

  • Sleep disruptions throughout the night or waking up from a deep sleep.
  • Pain that can feel like an ear infection. Although, there is no ear infection or problem.
  • Tooth pain and/or sensitivity when waking and throughout the day.
  • Pain in the jaw and neck. Possibly TMJ symptoms.
  • Head pressure that can feel like a headache.
  • Chipped, flattened or fractured teeth.

Causes of teeth grinding:

Doctors and Dentist do not completely understand what causes patients to experience teeth grinding, but they believe genetic factors play a role. They also believe stress and psychological factors play a role in both types of bruxism.

  • Awake bruxism is tied to a coping or habitual strategy during rest or concentration. It can be caused by many factors such as stress, anxiety, tension, anger, and more.
  • Sleep bruxism is again a sleep movement disorder associated with sleep disruptions.

Risk Factors:

  • Stress and anxiety can lead to bruxism. Teeth grinding can be used as a coping mechanism.
  • Age. Teeth grinding seems to be more common in young children and teenagers. Declining into adulthood.
  • Genetics. Bruxism tends to occur more often if another family member also suffers.
  • Medications. Some types of medicines have bruxism as a side effect of the drug. Although, this is usually uncommon or a minor side effect.
  • Disorders. Bruxism can be associated with some medical disorders like GERD, Parkinson’s, or even ADHD.

Tips to Manage Teeth Grinding:

  • Manage stress and anxiety levels.
  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Rotate sleeping positions.
  • Don’t drink caffeine at nighttime.


There are many preventive measures you can take to reduce or eliminate teeth grinding.  Your local dentist is highly trained in bruxism and would be a great partner in helping reduce or eliminate teeth grinding.

So for those in the Boynton Beach area give Dr. Hugh Rosenblatt DMD a call today to schedule your appointment.  Dr. Rosenblatt will provide solutions to help end bruxism and help you get a better night’s sleep.  (561) 737-8559.

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