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Sleep bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder which causes a person to forcefully clench their jaws, making a grinding sound while they sleep.

This disorder has a negative impact on the enamel, resulting in toothaches and pain in the jaw and face, or more severely, TMJ disorder and chronic pain of the temporomandibular joints and muscles.

Sleep bruxism risk factors:

  • Stress: Excessive stress and anxiety, anger or disappointment may cause teeth grinding.
  • Age: Sleep bruxism is more common in young children but it usually goes away on its own in adulthood.
  • Personality: People who are aggressive, competitive, or easily agitated are at a higher risk of bruxism.
  • Medications and recreational drugs: Certain medications used to treat mental conditions such as antidepressants may cause some side effects, bruxism included.
  • Genetics: People with a family history of sleep bruxism are at a higher risk.
  • Other disorders: Bruxism is linked to several mental disorders such as Parkinson's disease, amnesia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, epilepsy, night terrors, and some sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Things you should know about sleep bruxism

Sleep bruxism may sometimes go away on its own. However, in some cases, professional help from a dentist and psychologist may be required. Pay attention to your oral health so you can identify this problem and seek timely treatment to avoid serious complications.