Bruxing is the habit of clenching and grinding your teeth together. Most everybody bruxes at one time or another, but chronic bruxing can be a pain. Many people only brux at night and may not know. Mild bruxers may not show any symptoms. However, those who brux nearly 27/7 can experience head, neck, shoulder, jaw, and even ear pain. Bruxing may also lead to temporomandibular joint disorders, damaged teeth, a misaligned bite, and more.
Why Bruxing Hurts
Whether you brux during your sleep or during your waking hours, clenching and grinding your teeth puts a substantial amount of pressure on your teeth, gums, and jaw joints. It has been estimated that the amount of force put on your teeth from chewing is between three and ten times more when bruxing. It is not only your teeth that are affected. Chronic bruxing can cause aches and pains in your ears (as well as ringing and hearing loss), neck, shoulders, head, face and jaw.
Other symptoms of bruxing can include sensitive, worn, cracked, fractured, chipped, broken, loose, or missing teeth, as well as:
- Flattened anterior teeth and molars
- Misaligned bite
- Tight or tired jaw muscles
- Worn tooth enamel
What Causes It?
Some risk factors associated with bruxing include stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. Some personality types tend to brux more than others such aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive types. Certain medications can cause bruxing such as antidepressants. Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and certain illegal drugs such as Ecstasy and methamphetamines can also increase the risk of bruxing.