Do you have worn-out teeth or are you experiencing pain in your jaw for no apparent reason?

This may indicate you grind your teeth at night. Bruxism is a common condition that can be treated.

According to studies, bruxism affects almost 15% of the adult population. However, with proper dental care, you can easily treat the effects of bruxism.

In this article, Dr. Young H. Kim, DMD, at Lincolnway Dental Center in Aurora, Illinois, shares insights on all your concerns regarding bruxism.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition that causes you to clench, gnash, or grind your teeth. This activity is involuntary and repetitive.

This condition is said to be a sum of genetic, physical, and psychological factors including:

  • Hyperactivity, acid reflux, or sleep apnea
  • It may also occur as a side effect of medications used to treat neurological conditions
  • Anxiety, stress, or depression

How Does Bruxism Harm Your Oral Health?

Bruxism exerts a powerful force on the teeth, masticatory muscles, periodontal structures, and the temporomandibular joint. This causes:


Forceful grinding of the teeth pressurizes the muscles and joints around your mouth. This leads to stiffness and pain in not just the teeth and jaws but also your head and ears.

Temporomandibular (Jaw) Disorders

Bruxism causes severe jaw strain. The clenching action wears down the cartilage and muscles in the jaws leading to jaw disorders. TMJ disorders can cause popping or clicking jaws and locked jaws.

Tooth Damage

Untreated teeth grinding wears down the enamel and exposes the deeper layers of your teeth. Eventually, this makes your teeth susceptible to decay. The constant pressure may also fracture or loosen your teeth.

Gum Recession

By causing your teeth to shift, bruxism contributes to gum recession. Receding gums often develop pockets that harbor bacteria, often the cause of gingivitis.

What Can You Do to Prevent Bruxism?

Oral experts recommend these simple tips to prevent teeth grinding:

  • Start by working on the underlying cause
  • Reduce your stress and anxiety by simplifying your schedule and practicing mindfulness
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs as they make it worse
  • Reduce the intake of stimulants such as chocolates, caffeine, and sugary drinks
  • Schedule regular visits to your dentist for appropriate treatment. This may include occlusal adjustments, oral appliances such as mouthguards, or correction of misalignment.

Protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism by contacting our team at Lincolnway Dental Center at (630) 897-1300 or visiting us at 648 North Randall Road, Aurora, IL 60506.

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