When To Suspect That You Have Sleep Bruxism

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Sleep bruxism is the chronic grinding of teeth while sleeping. Unfortunately, you may have the condition for some time without even being aware of it. However, you should suspect that you are dealing with sleep bruxism if you develop its symptoms and also have the related risk factors.


There are numerous symptoms of bruxism, and it is possible that you will not experience all of them. However, you should suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night if you:

  • Wake up with tired jaw muscles
  • Have fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  • Wake up with an earache-like pain, but you don't have an ear problem
  • Have a dull headache, especially on your temples
  • Have increased tooth sensitivity
  • Wake up with gum damage
  • The insides of your cheeks are chewed up when upon waking up
  • Grind your teeth with enough noises to wake your sleeping partner

As explained above, not everybody who is suffering from bruxism will exhibit all these symptoms. At the same time, some of them may also be symptoms of other dental conditions. Therefore, just because you have a couple of these indicators, it does not mean that you have the condition.

However, you should strongly suspect bruxism if you have a few of these signs and you also have the following risk factors:

Stimulant User

You are likely to have bruxism if you use stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, Ecstasy or methamphetamines. These drugs stimulate the brain to release the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. The neurotransmitters cause your body to mimic stress, which leads to teeth grinding. Apart from that, stimulants can also increase your energy levels and make you more likely to grind your teeth.


Apart from using stimulants, being hyperactive, aggressive and overly competitive also makes you more likely to grind your teeth. This may be the case if your personality predisposes you to be aggressive or hyperactive, but it may also occur if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Finally, you are also likely to develop bruxism if you have chronic stress. The culprits are stresses of daily life such as job, finance, family life. In fact, according to the Bruxism Association, nearly 70% of bruxism cases can be traced back to stress and anxiety.

If you have any of these risk factors, and you also exhibit some of the symptoms listed above, then you should consult your dentist for a proper diagnosis. Failure to do so may lead to several complications such as eating disorders, receded gums or increased tendencies of dental problems such as fractures.