Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 23-01-2022

What is bruxism? Bruxism is basically a fancy word for teeth grinding. Now teeth grinding essentially is due to part of the brain that never shuts off when you’re sleeping. It comes from the subconscious mind.


One of the key things about teeth grinding is that it can actually cause a lot of damage, not just to your teeth, but to your joints and your muscles as well. So if you suffer from teeth grinding, you may notice that as you get older, your teeth might get shorter and worn away. Not only that, your muscles tend to get a bit sore or your joints might tend to get a bit sore. So if you see someone who’s got big muscles on the side here and they look quite large, now that’s probably because they grind their teeth quite a bit.

It’s like going to the gym. Now if you go to the gym and you exercise and do some bicep curls, now your biceps will turn a little bigger or they might get a bit sore after the session in the gym. So if you wake up with a headache in a morning and you find that your muscles are getting bigger, chances are you’re probably grinding your teeth at night.

Now at the same time, teeth grinding can cause teeth sensitivity or overall sensational pain on your teeth. The reason is because when you’re clenching and grinding, the ligaments around the tooth tends to get compressed. Or your teeth might get bruised as well, so potentially it can cause cracks on the teeth. It can cause damages, damages to your nerve and potentially a lot of sensitivity.

So, what can you do if you grind your teeth? Or clench your teeth during daytime and nighttime. Now if you notice that you clench and grind your teeth during the daytime, make a conscious effort not do it because that’s the only way to actually prevent you from clenching all the time. During nighttime however it’s not something you can physically control. So there are two main ways to actually prevent the effects of grinding your teeth. The sad part is that we cannot cure teeth grinding but we can actually do something to prevent the effects of grinding on teeth and in muscles.

First thing, you can get a night splint made. And a night splint is something that you fit in the mouth so when you clench and grind, you’re not going to be putting too much pressure onto your teeth. And that way you’re not grinding your teeth away, you’re not creating sensitivity and it creates like a cushion around your teeth.

Now, the other thing about grinding is that you can get a little bit of Botox on your muscles. Botox allows you to minimise the strength of grinding and reduces the size of the muscles as well. So that way, if you do clench and grind, it’s not going to be to the extent of where they were at the maximum level. I would recommend of course you need to have professional advice on this first.

To summarise, teeth grinding cannot be cured but you can do things which could help with the effects of grinding. So if you know someone who clenches and grinds or it could be your roommate or it could be your spouse, or even your children. Share this information with them because it could actually help them or enlighten them in terms of what grinding is all about and ways to actually prevent any damage to your joints, muscles and your teeth.