Teeth Grinding Information

What causes Teeth Grinding?

We know that grinding one’s teeth while asleep is caused by a reflex chewing activity. The activity of chewing is “neuromuscular” being controlled by reflex nerve pathways and the brain. However, while a person is asleep, the brain’s control is not active, while their reflexes are. When the jaw’s reflexes are active, teeth grinding without being aware can be the result.

Teeth grinding is formally known as bruxism. It typically occurs during sleep, even in very short periods of it, but some people grind their teeth while awake.

Teeth grinding, caused by the activation of the chewing reflex, may be caused by:

  • Anxiety or stress the person may be undergoing;
  • Digestive problems;
  • Asymmetrical teeth – teeth that are shaped or positioned differently on each sides of the jaw, or poor bite alignment;
  • Irregular or disturbed sleep patterns – an experiment was conducted at the Nippon Dental University in Tokyo that concluded there was a positive correlation between sleep stage 1 (the first stage: drowsiness) and teeth grinding, suggesting that those with bruxism typically have unstable and shallower sleep patterns and/or sleep disorders;
  • A deficiency in pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5). This is an anti-stress vitamin that reduces the product of certain hormones and helps control motor activity, including that of the reflexes of the jaw;
  • Calcium deficiency;
  • Magnesium deficiency may be another causes, as it can cause spasms and affects people at night;
  • Dislocated jaw;
  • Central nervous system disorders;
  • Having a new dental filling installed;
  • Parasites are another possible cause. A common parasite call a pinworm can cause it. A large percentage of the population has some form of parasite, so a stool analysis test may be needed to test for this;
  • Ecstasy use or abuse (MDMA);
  • Substances or medications cited as possible causes of teeth grinding include: Atapryl, Carbex, Catovit, Dopar, Eldenpryl, L-Denprenyl, Larodopa, Levodopa, Lodosyn, Prolintane, Selegiline, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, and Ecstasy as listed above;
  • Internalization of a person’s anger can manifest itself in bruxism.


Sources cited:

  • http://iadr.confex.com/iadr/2004Hawaii/techprogram/abstract_44562.htm
  • http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/t/teeth_grinding/intro.htm
  • http://www.uiowa.edu/~shs/ecstasy.htm
  • http://www.health911.com/remedies/rem_teethg.htm
Page last updated: 2007