Why Teeth Grinding Is Due to Stress and How It Affects the Teeth in Sleep

Stress is a fact of life. Career or jobs top the list of stressors followed by financial concerns, family, and health problems. Stress manifests in different ways, one of which is teeth grinding or bruxism. Waking up with sore jaws and a headache are indications that sleepers are grinding their teeth in sleep due to stress. Sleep dental care in Glenview can help.

Coping Mechanism

Studies have shown that almost no job or career placement has a socially acceptable method for coping with stress. Clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth are silent ways to cope. The stress hormones decrease after an episode of teeth grinding, although the damage done to the teeth and jaws are not decreased.

Studies have also shown that those most susceptible to stress have a higher incidence of stress hormone production and thus bruxism. Even the smallest stressor can cause teeth grinding.

Teeth in Sleep

Bruxism is classified as a sleep disorder. Those with sleep apnea often grind their teeth or clench the jaws as a result of the body abruptly waking from a breathing stoppage. It is also thought that to prevent the collapse of the throat muscles, the jaws clench and the teeth grind in order to harden the tissues in the throat.

What’s the Answer?

Dentists may recommend relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga to help control or eliminate stress.

Also recommended is to stop sleep apnea from causing teeth grinding and jaw clenching. To that end, sleep dental care in Glenview can offer sleepers continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP. This gently puffs air into the mouth and nose during sleep to prevent the collapse of throat tissue. If sleepers do not suffer from sleep apnea, a mouth guard will prevent teeth from grinding. These hold the bottom of the jaw forward to facilitate clear breathing. Go to Chicago Beautiful Smiles to learn more.