Many people clench or grind their teeth occasionally, without any consequences, not even being aware of it. Once they start feeling pain in their teeth, jaw or head, they discover that they suffer from bruxism, usually from their dentist. Bruxism is an involuntary, unconscious clenching, grinding or tapping of teeth. While in most cases bruxism is not a cause for worry, it is important to address it and find the underlying cases before it causes health issues.

Dentists say that one in ten people clench or grind their teeth to the point of damage to their teeth. Some people just clench their jaws, silently, and often wake up in the morning tired, with pain in the jaw, face or head. Because clenching is silent, it goes unnoticed by a sleeping partner and it goes untreated longer than grinding. People who grind their teeth also clench them until they meet. Then they proceed to move them back and fourth or left to right. This causes unpleasant noise which wakes up the unfortunate sleeping partners.

Both clenching and grinding are forms of bruxism and  have the same causes.  But different activity involves different parts of the body, causing slightly different consequences. Both grinding and clenching involve powerful contact between the lower and upper teeth. Both involve jaw muscles, which clench teeth or move them.

One of the most serious consequences of the untreated teeth clenching and grinding is temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). This inflammation can damage the jaw joints and cause prolonged inflammation of face muscles and nerves. Some people also suffer from earache and headache.

Whether you are clenching your teeth or grinding them, you need to address the problem by trying to figure out what caused it. See your dentist to check if you have misaligned teeth. Talk to your doctor if you are taking some anti-depressants or other similar drugs. Try to avoid taking stimulants before going to sleep. Try to relieve stress, which is the most common reason for teeth grinding and clenching.

To prevent further damage to your teeth, get a good mouth guard, which will not only keep your teeth separated, but will provide you with temporary comfort until the cause of your bruxism is eliminated. Check the review of the best mouth guards on the market at