Grinding teeth is a fairly common occurrence amongst most people. The prevalence and intensity of the grinding will vary from person to person. It can happen most often without your knowledge while you sleep, so it can occur for quite a while before you are even aware. Before you ask why, you have to know whether you do or not. How will you know? Aside from the person sleeping next to you catching you do it, there are some telltale signs that you’ve been grinding your teeth.

The technical name for unconscious grinding of teeth is called bruxism. There will be slight indications in your oral comfort if you are unwittingly subjecting yourself to this. Waking up with a dull, but constant headache could be caused by bruxism. Also, having an unexplained sore jaw might be the result of grinding your teeth through the night. The mouth is being repeatedly impacted with the unconscious grinding. Tenderness will develop in the jaws over an extended period of time, and abnormalities form in the teeth.

As for the question of why, there are no real clear-cut reasons. But there are conditions that probably contribute to bruxism. These may be anxiety and stress a person is dealing with. Trying to sleep through the night with a troubled mind may result in this inadvertent grinding. Also, if you have crooked or missing teeth in your dental structure you might grind them in your sleep. When you find out that you’re grinding your teeth, or suspect that you might be, it’s best to consult a dentist for an appropriate remedy.

Chronic teeth grinding can cause loosening or loss of teeth, or even grind them down to stumps. This will require crowns, bridges, implants, or any number of dental procedures to correct. Some tips for avoiding grinding are avoiding caffeine drinks like coffee and colas. Alcohol consumption can intensify grinding, so it might help to cut back. Also, excessive gum chewing, or chewing on non-food items like pencils, will make you more prone to grinding your teeth at night.