Woman holding her temple and grinding teeth

What Is Bruxism & What Can it Do to Enamel?

Do you grind your teeth when you’re sleeping, or find yourself clenching your teeth every now and then? It can be scary to think of how often this happens, especially when you’re not aware of it. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition that can affect your oral health and cause damage to your jaw and tooth enamel. Learn more about bruxism, what causes it and how to find treatment.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be hard to control, especially when it occurs at night.1 Although it’s not a dangerous condition, it can permanently damage your teeth and cause jaw pain, headaches, ear pain and even neck pain.1,2 It is commonly thought that the main cause of bruxism is stress, but there are some disagreements about what the actual causes are. Stress may be a trigger for bruxism, but it can also be caused by your posture, diet and misaligned teeth.1 Taking certain medications, drinking caffeinated beverages and smoking tobacco can also put you at risk for bruxism.3

If your bruxism is occurring at night, it may be caused by different things. Sleeping patterns, snoring and breathing difficulties while sleeping can be the main cause of night bruxism.3 The main cause of bruxism has not yet been determined, but it is believed to be multifactorial.5

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

Teeth grinding can lead to many other symptoms like aching teeth, stiffness in the face and temples, teeth that are loose or fractured, sore jaws while eating, tooth sensitivity and temporomandibular disorders.4 Other symptoms outside of oral problems include anxiety, stress, muscle tenderness in the morning, insomnia and eating disorders.1

How Common Is Bruxism?

Bruxism may be more common than you think. According to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association, over 70% of dentists noticed signs of bruxism and teeth clenching in their patients, and over 60% noted that their patients had problems with temporomandibular joint pain.2 If you think you may be experiencing signs of bruxism, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. Dentists and dental hygienists are usually the first people to notice signs of teeth grinding, and they can help you find treatment options to prevent further damage.2

How Does Bruxism Affect Your Enamel?

Over time, bruxism can lead to tooth wear and damage your enamel.1 People with bruxism can clench or bite down on their teeth with six times more force than those without bruxism.3 The resulting damage to your teeth can range from cracks in the surface to broken teeth or restorations, which can lead to tooth pain.3

What Are Some Treatment Options for Bruxism?

An important step to treating bruxism is to prevent it by trying to eliminate what is causing it.4 If your bruxism is caused by stress or medications, talk to your primary care doctor about finding ways to relieve stress or alternative medication options.3 Your dentist may also suggest wearing a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep.2 Night guards can be purchased in stores, but a customized guard made by a dentist will likely offer you the most comfort and protection.2 Mouth guards for sports are different from night guards and are not designed to sleep with.2

If you have trouble sleeping, consider participating in a sleep study, which can help you find out what happens to your body while sleeping and how your body reacts to lack of sleep.2

Everyday Oral Hygiene

No toothpaste can treat bruxism, but it's important to keep up with good oral hygiene habits to ensure your enamel is being actively strengthened and better protected against exposure to everyday acids. Pronamel Gentle Whitening can help minerals penetrate deep into the enamel surface, and actively strengthen (and reharden) weakened enamel. You can also help protect your enamel by brushing twice daily with a good fluoride toothpaste twice like Pronamel Multi-Action Toothpaste to help keep your teeth healthy.

Find more tips and advice on treating your enamel from Pronamel.

Source Citations:

  1. Bruxism. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001413.htm Accessed 7/21/2023.
  2. Teeth grinding and jaw pain. American Dental Association. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/all-topics-a-z/teeth-grinding Accessed 7/21/2023.
  3. What is bruxism? The Journal of the American Dental Association. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(21)00381-0/fulltext Accessed 7/21/2023.
  4. Teeth grinding. Australian Dental Association. https://www.teeth.org.au/teeth-grinding Accessed 7/21/2023.
  5. Bruxism Management. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482466/. Accessed 11/21/2023.
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