Ask a Dentist

August 13, 2021

Q: Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

Man grinding his teeth

Have you ever found yourself unconsciously grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth? Maybe you’ve noticed an increase in headaches, sensitive teeth or chipped teeth? You may have bruxism, also known as teeth grinding.

People who grind their teeth may not realize they’re doing it until they notice common symptoms like waking up with jaw pain or having tired jaw muscles - they might find out from a roommate or significant other who noticed them clenching their teeth at night.

Some signs of bruxism may not be as pronounced and people may not discover the issue until their dental checkup. The dentist may point out symptoms such as worn tooth enamel or teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose.

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

Stress is a big factor in teeth grinding. A 2020 report by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute found that over half of dentists surveyed saw an increase of patients with dental conditions often associated with stress, such as bruxism and chipped or cracked teeth. According to The Bruxism Association, while stress is a factor, bruxism is more commonly found among people who also have issues with snoring, sleep talking, sleep paralysis and other sleep disorders. 

Another factor that can contribute to your teeth grinding is alcohol and tobacco use according to a 2016 study in the Journal of American Dental Association. Frequent alcohol drinkers and smokers are about twice as likely to grind their teeth.

How Do I Stop Grinding My Teeth?

The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of your bruxism. If you suffer from teeth grinding, be sure to talk with your doctor or dentist to determine the source of it. Based on the damage to your teeth, your dental professional may suggest:

  • Wearing a night guard. A mouth guard for teeth grinding can prevent further wear on your teeth and relieve any damage. While this may not be a cure, a mouth guard can help you manage this condition.
  • Finding ways to relax. Doing the things you love before bedtime, such as watching your favorite show or taking a short walk, could help you let go of the day’s negativity and allow your body to release any lingering tension. It is the easiest and cheapest way to treat bruxism. 
  • Receiving dental corrections. In some cases, such as an overbite (the upper jaw overlaps with the lower jaw) or an abnormal bite (when teeth on the upper and lower jaw are misaligned), your dentist may correct your teeth using orthodontics, like braces or Invisalign.


Putting an end to teeth grinding can help alleviate pain, preserve your teeth and keep you smiling with confidence. If you suspect you have bruxism, visit us at our Dental Image Therapy Centres locations at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre to determine the best course of treatment. 

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