We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Causes of Teeth Grinding and Clenching?

Alex Tree
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Teeth grinding and clenching is called bruxism, which has many possible causes. Researchers are not certain of the exact cause, but stress and pain are likely major factors in whether a person experiences teeth grinding and clenching. Everyday stress, such as relationship conflict and work-related issues, is a common factor in people who develop this habit. In addition, pain from an earache or toothache may cause someone to develop the habit temporarily. Lastly, some experts have observed connections between certain medical conditions and teeth grinding and clenching.

Most researchers generally agree that daily stress is a major factor in cases of bruxism. Someone who is overly stressed might grind and clench day and night, rarely realizing that he or she is doing so until symptoms appear. If the person is experiencing severe symptoms from teeth grinding and clenching, such as severe pain and a locking jaw, it is usually safe to assume that he or she is doing it while asleep. In this case, it is not unusual to wake up with a sore and tired jaw, headache, or severe facial pain.

This habit frequently presents itself in people who often experience anger, frustration, and pain. Those who are overly competitive or constantly hurried may also experience bruxism. In most cases, these people are stressed emotionally, physically, or both. For example, when someone is in pain due to an earache or toothache, he or she might grind and clench. The same goes for pain in other areas of the body, though grinding and clenching due to an earache or toothache is more common.

While symptoms such as stress and other mental and emotional complications are among the most common causes of teeth grinding and clenching, there are many other less common causes. In children, bruxism may occur because of teething or the development of the teeth and jaws. This condition can also be influenced by changes to sleep patterns or medical conditions such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. Misalignment of the teeth or jaw as well as diet and posture have also been observed as causes of teeth grinding and clenching, among many others.

There is no cure for teeth grinding and clenching, only treatments for the actual cause. Stress management, mouth guards or splints, and many other options are available to lessen or eliminate grinding and clenching to prevent serious wear on the teeth. The person is not usually medicated, but occasionally muscle relaxants are prescribed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.

Discussion Comments

Alex Tree

Alex Tree

Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.