Why do people grind their teeth at night?

Grinding your teeth at night is very common. The causes of bruxism are not known but many believe that stress, sleep disorders and an abnormal bite all play a role.

If you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist may recommend stress reduction, or wearing a protective night guard over your teeth while you sleep. You can help prevent teeth grinding by paying attention to your symptoms, making frequent dental visits and talking with your dentist.
People may grind their teeth at night (night bruxism) for a number of different reasons:
  • They're stressed, tense, worried, or feel angry.
  • Their upper and lower teeth are misaligned.
  • They have a neurological disorder, such as Parkinson's disease.
  • They grind their teeth as part of their sleep cycle.
  • They're having a side effect of some psychiatric drugs, including some antidepressants.
Although nighttime teeth grinding has a specific cause in some people, researchers still don't know why many people grind their teeth.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Tooth grinding is based on unconscious movement of the chewing muscles, which can occur at any time. Watch the animation to learn more about causes of tooth grinding.

Continue Learning about Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

If you notice that your teeth look worn or fractured, if you have unexplained facial pain, or headaches, you may have bruxism. This is an unconscious habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. Also common is sleep bruxism, where a ...

sleeper grinds his teeth. While mild cases may not need any treatment, more severe cases may be treated with a mouth guard or splint. Sometimes reducing stress or managing stress can help. The condition is more common in children, and they often grow out of it by their teens.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.