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Grinding (bruxism)



Bruxism is a medical term that describes the act of grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw.


Sometimes, people grind their teeth without it causing any symptoms or problems. However, regular and persistent teeth grinding can cause pain and discomfort in your jaw and it can wear down your teeth.


Teeth grinding can also cause headaches and earache.

Most cases of teeth grinding (nearly 80%) occur subconsciously during sleep. It is usually associated with contributing factors, such as stress or anxiety.



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What causes bruxism?

Bruxism almost always occurs in association with other factors. About 70% of bruxism cases that occur during sleep are thought be related to stress and anxiety.

There is also a strong association between bruxism and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA is a sleep disorder where your breathing is interrupted during your sleep.

Teeth grinding can also be caused by taking certain antidepressants. Your lifestyle can also have an effect. For example, regularly drinking alcohol, smoking and using recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine, increase your risk of bruxism.

Who is affected by bruxism?

About 8%-10% of the UK population are thought to be affected by teeth grinding. It can occur in both children and adults, although it is most common in adults between the ages of 25 and 44.

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