Bruxism (or teeth grinding) is an abnormality where the person involved grinds or clenches his or her teeth. Bruxism occurs in most people, but is often mild, or occasional, and does not affect someone’s health. But when tooth grinding becomes more frequent or more severe, it may set off significant complications, leading to serious damage towards the jaws and teeth.

Effects of bruxism

Several reasons that may cause teeth grinding are currently under study. Although they are not yet fully conclusive, there is more and more evidence that show their relationship to bruxism.

MalocclusionPresent research suggests that the most likely reason that causes bruxism is a bad occlusion (alignment) between the teeth of the top and bottom jaws. When you close your mouth and the way that your teeth touch causes stress to your facial muscles and to your jaws, you will tend to unconsciously position your jaws in a place where your muscles will feel less stress. Therefore the teeth move and rub against each other.

StressAnxiety or stress in someone’s life is also thought to be one of the causes of bruxism. A person leading a stressful lifestyle is more apt to grind his or her teeth at night, and sometimes even during daytime. One of the recommendations is to reduce the amount of caffeine intake to feel less anxiety.

Sleep arousalsIt is also thought that tooth grinding might occur when someone suffers from sleep arousals. Bruxism is therefore observed during a period of sleep that involves movements, emotions and abnormal dreams that are unconscious. Recent studies also concluded that bruxism is related to snoring and sleep apnea.

Taking medicationResearshers believe that taking various medications, or recreational drugs, may cause the development of bruxism. These substances include a few antidepressants, a few antipsychotics, some amphetamines, as well as cocaine and alcohol. It is also believed that tooth griding might be associated to some conditions like Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy, and a few more.


  1. Wikipedia (Bruxism).
  2. The Bruxism Association (Causes of bruxism).

The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.

The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.

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