Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws. Common triggers include stress, mental concentration, incorrect tooth alignment and drug misuse.
From the age of six to 14 teeth are erupting and moving around making bruxism quite common in children. Luckily most children outgrow this habit before adulthood.
Bruxism doesn’t always display its symptoms in ways that are immediately noticeable. As it advances you might start to notice jaw pain, headaches or worn down, sensitive teeth.
You may not be aware you are grinding or clenching your teeth as it could be occurring while you sleep. Bruxism might also be happening when you are deep in concentration, feeling angry or anxious.
Unfortunately there is no quick cure to stop you from grinding in your sleep. Your dentist can assess if there is a physical cause of your bruxism, such as misaligned teeth or jaw problem, however you may also need to investigate if there is any psychological causes of your grinding habit.
In most cases your dentist can help minimise further damage to your teeth and jaw by fitting you with an occlusal splint (night guard).
If you think you may be grinding your teeth, or your partner says you do, it is worthwhile seeing your dentist to assess your situation and discuss your options.