What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding can have many different causes.  When you learn the reason you are clenching and grinding your teeth during the nighttime, you can take appropriate steps to correct the problem.


Stress is the most common reason for nighttime grinding.  Unresolved tension, stress, or anxiety from your daily life can lead to grinding your teeth while you sleep.  tooth grinding

Sleep Problems

Grinding can accompany sleep problems, especially sleep apnea.  A person who has sleep apnea has episodes in which his breathing will stop and start during the night.  Teeth grinding can occur in addition to wheezing, gasping, or snoring.  


Some people naturally have competitive or aggressive personalities.  This can increase the risk of nighttime teeth grinding.

Suppressed Emotions  

If you are suppressing extreme frustration or anger, these emotions can be expressed while you are asleep.  

Dental Health Issues

Individuals who have certain oral health problems are more likely to experience teeth grinding.  You may have missing or crooked teeth, or your lower and upper teeth may be misaligned.  

Medical Conditions  

Sleep apnea is not the only medical condition that can cause grinding.  Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease can also have grinding as a side effect.


Some medications can cause you to grind and clench your teeth during sleep.  Antidepressants are one example.

Childhood Teeth Grinding

While children can experience stress-related grinding, there are additional causes that can affect children.  Common examples include earaches and teething pain.

Diagnosing And Treating Teeth Grinding

If you have learned that you grind your teeth while you are asleep, it is generally not in your best interest to try to diagnose and treat the problem yourself.  It is safer and more effective to have an evaluation by your healthcare provider.  Your doctor or dentist can determine the underlying cause, and treat the cause instead of merely treating the symptom.  

There are reasons teeth grinding should not be ignored or taken lightly.  First, when grinding is a symptom, the underlying cause may worsen if it is not addressed.  Grinding can be the first sign of a serious problem.  You need professional assistance from your physician or dentist.

Second, if teeth grinding is not corrected, it can ruin your teeth.  When you clench and grind, the force can destroy your tooth enamel.  It can also cause your teeth to become loose.  Untreated grinding may eventually result in tooth loss.

For the sake of your health and your peace of mind, request a professional evaluation.  Whether it is you or someone else in your household, grinding and clenching teeth during sleep is not a normal occurrence.  You need and deserve professional assistance to deal with the matter.  Contact our office if you have concerns about grinding your teeth.