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    Uncovering the physical causes of bruxism

    Uncovering the physical causes of bruxism

    Did you know, there can be a variety of physical causes behind a person’s bruxism habit.


    As your baby grows a set of teeth, he/she might pick up a new annoying habit. Teeth grinding — or bruxism — is common in babies, especially those who are currently teething. Though this behaviour concerning, there’s usually no reason to be.. It will pass.


    Interestingly, there is a growing acceptance that heredity does in fact play a significant role in the development of bruxism. The article Bruxism and genetics: a review of the literature, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, looked at studies done pertaining to the correlation between bruxism and heredity. The study reviewed 32 publications which were narrowed down to 10 that were deemed relevant. With the exception of one of the twin studies, all of the studies concluded that bruxism was partly genetically determined. Although no specific genetic markers have been identified yet, 21-50% of sleep bruxism sufferers have a direct family member affected by the condition. We must not forget that correlation does not equal causation and it is virtually impossible to quantify heredities contribution to the probability of developing bruxism. There is still much we don’t understand about the causes of bruxism, but as of right now, the evidence points mainly to stress and heredity as the key sources


    Research shows that certain medications are known to cause bruxism – in particular, some that are used to treat psychiatric conditions. It’s thought that these drugs cause changes in the central nervous system that lead to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Examples of such medications include antipsychotics and antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine).


    Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common symptom of certain medical conditions – usually nervous system disorders – including:

    • Huntington’s disease, a genetic disorder
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • oromandibular dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle spasms in the face, jaw, and tongue
    • cerebral palsy


    Dehydration is a very prevalent cause of teeth grinding. If it is left unchecked, dehydration can lead to a variety of complaints, including headaches and a flare-up of allergy symptoms. The accompanying stress from these ailments can trigger a bruxism attack. It is worth noting that smokers and heavy drinkers are generally quite dehydrated, and therefore prone to bruxism. If you already suffer from bruxism, it is important to minimise dehydration as much as possible, in order not to exacerbate the situation. Avoid fizzy colas and caffeine.


    People with an over or under bite, or those with misaligned teeth can be very prone to grind their teeth. If you have problems with dental misalignment, consult an orthodontist to remedy the problem.

    If you suffer from night time bruxism and it’s various symptoms – such as headaches and migraines – you could benefit from wearing a night guard such as the F.O.S. splint. Find a F.O.S. provider near you.