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Why do they grind their teeth at night? Causes and treatment of adults and children

September 14, 2015 | author : dentist, Gaiduk Igor

The condition in which a person grinds their teeth occurs mainly during sleep and is called bruxism. It can occur in people of all ages, regardless of gender. According to various statistics, this phenomenon affects from 15 to 50% of the world's population.


bruxism: causes of night grinding of teeth Night grinding of teeth is episodic, in which case you should not pay attention to it. When the emotional state of a person returns to normal, bruxism stops. If this phenomenon is repeated regularly, then it is necessary to identify and eliminate its cause.

  • Accumulation of stress . Suppression of one's own emotions, indecision, fear of expressing indignation or irritation aloud exhausts a person, accumulates negativity in him and leads to stress, which during sleep can manifest itself in the form of grinding teeth. Any emotional stress, especially at bedtime, also affects the occurrence of bruxism. People of a special temperament (sensitive, pessimists, unable or unwilling to control themselves) are most prone to nightly gnashing of teeth.
  • Lifestyle . Smoking and alcoholism, excessive consumption of strong tea and coffee, as well as long-term use of antidepressants contribute to the development of bruxism.
  • Problems with teeth . Incorrect bite, ill-fitting fillings, multiple missing teeth, difficult getting used to braces or dentures can be the causes of squeaky teeth during sleep.
  • Heredity . Bruxism can be inherited as a distinct property of the nervous system.

The myth of the presence of worms

Among people who are not competent in medicine, there is an opinion that grinding teeth at night indicates the presence of worms in the body. Of course, parasitic worms have a negative effect on the nervous system, but a direct connection with bruxism has not been scientifically confirmed.


bruxism symptomsSince teeth grinding occurs mainly at night, a person may not be aware of his problem. She announces herself in the morning on certain grounds, including:

  • discomfort in the face;
  • pain in the ears, sinuses, head, temporomandibular joints, neck, shoulders, back;
  • feeling tired after sleep;
  • dizziness, tinnitus.

The obvious symptoms of bruxism are:

  • the appearance of irregularities on the edge of the teeth;
  • change in bite;
  • damage to dentures;
  • buccal mucosal injury.

It should be added that the night grinding of the teeth can occur with a short-term cessation of breathing during sleep (apnea). Bruxism is accompanied by insomnia, snoring, sometimes talking in a dream and even hallucinations when waking up in the middle of the night.


Consequences of night grinding of teethGrinding of teeth, which occurs episodically, does not cause obvious harm to health and is able to disappear, as mentioned above. However, there are often consequences of bruxism that cannot be neglected.

As a result of squeaking, enamel wear leads to increased sensitivity of the teeth and the risk of active caries. In addition, the unregulated load on the teeth during grinding is fraught with their mobility. By negatively affecting prostheses, bruxism contributes to the maximum reduction in their service life.

The activity of the body in the area of ​​the temples, lower jaws is subject to disruption, spasms and tension of the masticatory muscles occur. Constant insomnia with a dental squeak can cause a serious malfunction in the nervous system.

Bruxism in children

Teeth grinding at night is observed in every second child, this is especially pronounced when teething milk and permanent teeth.

Bruxism in children Of great importance is the state of the nervous system in a child. Breastfeeding babies experience stress when they are weaned from natural feeding. Therefore, the process of transition from mother's milk to other foods should occur smoothly, without harm to the child's body.

A baby who is overworked during the day can grind his teeth in his sleep, talk. In order for the child’s sleep to be full, parents are advised to properly organize his classes and leisure, avoiding the baby from getting an excess of emotions.

The correct daily regimen will help with insomnia, which is accompanied by grinding teeth in children. The presence of adenoids prevents the child from sleeping well, in which coughing, sneezing, and breathing failure are constantly observed.

In connection with the increased children's susceptibility to the outside world, it is necessary to carefully monitor the mood of the child and hot on the trail to eliminate possible problems: quarrels with peers, excitement before performing at a matinee.

Malocclusion is one of the most common causes of bruxism in children. It is best to correct the bite in childhood, when the jaw system is not fully formed. In addition, misaligned teeth also contribute to squeaking at night. The reasons for this phenomenon include factors such as allergic reactions, diseases of the endocrine system, impaired emotional development.


How to treat night grinding of teethTo get rid of bruxism, you need to visit a dentist and a psychologist who will identify the patient's problems and help solve them. The dentist will check the fillings, pick up caps (special splints) against tooth abrasion or braces to correct the bite. If these methods do not help, then the patient is prescribed drugs, injections, hypnosis.

A psychologist can recommend the implementation of techniques to relax the jaw muscles and relieve stress, teach you to deal with anxieties, fears, and get rid of irritation.

To gradually get rid of the habit of grinding your teeth at night, you need to try:

  • connect the upper and lower teeth only when chewing food;
  • on the eve of sleep, eat crackers, raw vegetables and fruits: apples, carrots, fresh salads;
  • warm compresses of infusion of valerian or motherwort on both jaws.

To relieve tension and stress that provoke bruxism, you need to remove coffee and strong tea from the diet. It is recommended to drink green tea with chamomile, mint or thyme before going to bed and take a warm bath. A well-established regime of work and rest, an even distribution of work, refraining from anxiety, stress, irritation will reduce the tendency to gnashing of teeth.

You always need to analyze unpleasant situations. Perhaps they are not worth the negative reaction to them. Tempering the nervous system, you should walk more often, listen to your favorite music, communicate with interesting people, allocate time for hobbies. Positive emotions will bring sports to your liking. This could be swimming, exercising at a health club, walking in the park, or cycling.

You need to take care of the restoration of enamel with the help of a special strengthening gel. If bruxism is not completely cured, then aesthetic procedures for the teeth cannot be performed.


Prevention of teeth grinding during sleepWith nervous tension, you should try not to close your teeth, then there will be no unpleasant consequences. You should do something pleasant for yourself more often: read books by your favorite authors, listen to beautiful calm music, take a walk before going to bed. It is necessary to take sedative preparations from calendula, tansy, chamomile, mint. Optimal physical activity helps with insomnia and overwork.

It must be remembered that grinding teeth at night is not only nervous overexcitation, but also possible diseases that have arisen due to stress. Therefore, if you suspect bruxism, you need to seek the advice of a specialist who will help restore health.

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