Is There a Connection Between Teeth Grinding and Headaches?

One cause of headaches is teeth grinding or clenching. If you experience headaches or migraines, consult with your dentist and physician.

How Can Grinding and Clenching Cause Headaches?

A person’s skull and jaw are connected by a hinge known as a temporomandibular joint.  This joint, the TMJ, is responsible for your ability to yawn, chew, and talk.  However, the muscles that support your jaw and help it move may cause pain.

When you chew, the muscles in your jaw tighten.  They also tighten when you clench or grind.  When the clenching causes pain in your jaw, the pain can move to other parts of your skull.  This can result in headaches or migraines.  In some instances, shoulder pain, earaches, or toothaches may occur.
Man with head in hands

What Can You Do About Grinding And Clenching?

Teeth grinding and clenching can have many different causes.  You may wish to talk to your doctor or dentist to determine the cause in your particular situation, but you can also take steps to reduce the problem.  

Stress is a common cause.  If you have a great deal of stress in your life, learning some relaxation techniques can be helpful.  You can also try massages to the jaw muscles, and exercises that involve stretching your neck.

Nighttime grinding can be trickier because you cannot notice or control grinding when you are asleep.  You may be having headaches but were not aware of nighttime teeth grinding unless someone in your home brought it to your attention.  Your dentist may notice unusual wear on your teeth, which is a common sign of grinding.

Your dentist can help you avoid nighttime clenching and grinding by providing a night guard.  It is similar to the mouth guards worn while playing sports, but it is meant to be worn during sleep.  The night guard will prevent grinding, and protect your teeth and jaw.  

A night guard is easy to use, comfortable, and effective.  While you can purchase a device online, it is better to consult with your dentist.  Oral health problems and medical issues can cause grinding, but grinding also affects your teeth.  Tooth enamel can become worn down, and teeth can become loose.  This is why you should have a complete examination at the dentist’s office instead of simply buying a night guard on your own.

You Can Be Healthier

If teeth grinding and clenching is causing your headaches, you may not experience headaches after you have received treatment.  You can avoid stress and worry, and not need to rely on pain medication for your headaches.  You can have better oral health, and better physical health, too.

The most important point to keep in mind is teeth grinding does not need to continue.  Regardless of the specific cause, treatment is available.  Whether you have been grinding your teeth since childhood, or whether the problem only started recently, there is a treatment that is right for you.  Contact our office to schedule an appointment and be on your way to better health.