Why Did I Start Grinding My Teeth?

Nov 16, 2023
Why Did I Start Grinding My Teeth?
Teeth grinding is a common condition. In fact, many people do it without even realizing it. Let’s explore the issue in more detail to avoid the complications of teeth grinding.

Your teeth are the first step in digestion, breaking down food through chewing and grinding so it’s easily processed by your body. While they contain enamel — the hardest substance in your body — it can be worn down due to teeth grinding. Grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth is known as bruxing, a common dental issue.

A 2021 survey by the American Dental Association shows that over 70% of dentists have noticed increased bruxism, which can lead to other dental problems if left unchecked. Teeth grinding can affect you throughout your life, and you may not even realize you’re doing it. Residents of Richmond Hill, Georgia, looking for ways to manage teeth grinding or other dental problems can find help with Dr. Nils Anderson and his dedicated medical team at Village Dental.

Understanding bruxism

Grinding or clenching your teeth isn’t harmful on occasion. Still, if it happens frequently, it can affect your jaw, teeth, and temporomandibular joints (the joints of your lower jawbone). There are several types of teeth grinding, including the following:

  • Awake: Grinding and clenching teeth during the day on occasion doesn’t always need treatment
  • Sleep: As the more damaging version, you likely don’t realize it’s happening while you sleep


Chronic teeth grinding can lead to worn down teeth, cracks, and pain in your jaw or neck. It can also affect your sleep, leading to insomnia and other issues.

Reasons people grind their teeth

This condition often starts as a child and stops before adulthood. If you’re dealing with it as an adult, several factors impact why it’s happening:


Awake and sleeping bruxism are commonly associated with stress related to anxiety, anger, frustration, and other emotional responses. It can also be associated with aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive behavior.


Sleep bruxism is likely linked to a family history of the condition.


Though not common, some medications can cause teeth grinding as a side effect, including antidepressants and antianxiety drugs.


Medical and mental health disorders like Parkinsons’ disease, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), night terrors, epilepsy, dementia, ADHD, and sleep apnea can cause bruxism.

Lifestyle habits

Alcohol abuse, smoking, recreational drug use, and excess caffeine (over six cups daily) can cause bruxism. Drinking and smoking doubles the risk.

If the condition is significant enough to require treatment, mouth guards, behavioral changes, medication changes, and biofeedback therapy are treatment methods. 

If you’re struggling with teeth grinding during the day or while you sleep, make an appointment with Dr. Anderson and his team at Village Dental today to get the help you need.