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What Causes Teeth to Grind at Night and How Can I Protect My Teeth?
Hi, I am Dr Judith, and I’m one of the Principal Dentists here at Elevate Dental in Melbourne.

Chris, a new patient here in our Richmond clinic, paid us a visit yesterday. He had noticed that his teeth had become shorter over time, and his girlfriend also told him that she could hear him grinding his teeth at night.

This is quite common, so I thought I’d make a short video to share with you the causes of teeth grinding and how you can protect your teeth.

There are a few main reasons why people grind at night.

Teeth Grinding

The most common reason for grinding is stress.

This can be chronic ongoing stress such as a stressful job or a stressful situation which results in continued ongoing grinding and clenching of teeth, or it can be spikes in stress. Life events such as moving house can create spikes in stress that can also contribute to short periods of intense grinding.

Another reason why people grind is due to a lack of oxygen to the body

This is also called Sleep Disorder Breathing. During Sleep Disorder Breathing, the airflow is interrupted and the amount of oxygen that gets absorbed into your bloodstream, and the lungs, is reduced. As the oxygen levels drop, it actually triggers an involuntary reflex of teeth grinding and clenching.

Sleep Disorder Breathing can range from something as simple as snoring to something called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. And this is where you might have enlarged tonsils or adenoid tissue, that blocks your airway, and therefore decreases the amount of airflow and oxygen that goes through.

The most severe form of Upper airway resistance syndrome may be something you’re familiar with, Obstructive Sleep Apnea where breathing stops during sleep.

This can result in numerous serious health issues as well as dental issues.

So as you can see, grinding can be a sign that your body is under stress, and potentially can indicate other health issues.

Grinding can also cause a lot of damage to your teeth. Over time, grinding can wear away tooth enamel and expose the deeper layers of the tooth which can cause pain and sensitivity. Teeth can also break, chip and crack.

Teeth Grinding Option
Grinding can also result in tired, tight jaw muscles, soreness and pain around the neck and the jaws, as well as headaches. Sometimes it can also result in tiredness despite a full night’s rest.

So what can we do to help grinding? There are a few options available and it depends on how severe the grinding is and also whether there is any damage to the teeth.

In mild to moderate situations, an option can include something called nightguard, which is like a plastic guard you wear at nighttime to protect the teeth and also to distribute the stresses across all of your teeth. This custom-made nightguard can also help to relax the jaw muscles and help relieve tension.

I hope you found this helpful. If you do grind your teeth, there are definitely solutions to help relieve pain and protect your teeth and we’re here to guide you to something that works best for you.

We are conveniently located at both Hawthorn and Richmond with free onsite parking. Simply call us on 1300 2 SMILE, complete the form on our website, or directly message us on social media, and we’ll be in touch to help you organise your consultation. See you in the next video.

Note: All content and media on the Elevate Dental website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.



Services we mentioned:

General Dentistry

James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


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James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


What a professional and friendly team at Elevate Dental Richmond. Dr Judith’s infectious smile is matched only by her highly competent dentistry.
Richmond is lucky to have such a caring practice! Thanks guys.

Peter O


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