If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, it may be time to see your dentist. There are many potential causes for headaches, including stress, allergies, and sleep deprivation. However, one of the most common reasons is teeth grinding or clenching during sleep, also known as bruxism. Grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep is typically accompanied by a headache.
Why Does Teeth Grinding Cause Headaches?
The reason for the headache that comes as a result of teeth grinding is actually simpler than one might think. When you are moving your jaw to grind your teeth, your jaw is making similar movements to the movements it would make while chewing. In this case, there is no food to cushion your teeth from rubbing on one another and causing friction. This stress translates to the muscles in your jaw and head, which can then result in tension headaches. The stress and tension that comes from teeth grinding is much more exaggerated than that of the normal tension that comes from chewing food or gum.
There is also a theory that the ground-up tooth particles that come from grinding the teeth for extended periods overnight may contribute to pain or pressure sensitivity of the sinus mucosa. These neurobiological mechanisms could explain some symptoms associated with sinus headaches. Some patients experience mildly negative outcomes from chronic grinding, while others report experiencing significant health issues such as serious headaches as a result of grinding.
Individuals who suffer from frequent headaches that seem to be connected to bruxism (teeth grinding) are encouraged to talk to their dentist about getting a customized oral appliance known as a mouthguard. These devices can help patients rest more comfortably and decrease stress while also promoting better sleep. Mouthguards are molded to the patient’s teeth and have a layer of gel that gives when they try to grind thus decreasing the amount of pressure applied to the jaw when the patient tries to grind their teeth while sleeping.
If you’re suffering from an unusual sensitivity in certain areas of your mouth, like towards the back molars, that’s one sign of grinding or clenching. Another possible indication is if you wake up with neck pain, sore jaw muscles especially on both sides, headaches upon waking up, tenderness along chewing surfaces of the jaws, clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth, nighttime toothaches, or pains while chewing. Ear pain can also be a signifier of teeth grinding, and can many times be mistaken for an ear infection when really it is the sore muscles in the jaw radiating in the ear and making it feel as though the ear is the source of the pain.
What To Do
If you think your headaches may be due to teeth grinding, it would be best if you considered scheduling an appointment with a dentist for a consultation. Your dentist can give you advice on how to treat the problem and provide relief from symptoms such as jaw pain or ear pain.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. They can help diagnose the problem and offer treatments that can provide relief from teeth grinding-related headaches.
If you think your headaches may be due to teeth grinding, schedule an appointment with a dentist for a consultation then the dentist will prescribe medication or various types of treatments such as mouthguards to help you. The dentist can also recommend to you practices that you can consider doing to prevent you from headaches caused by grinding and clenching of your teeth.
Treatments for teeth grinding vary depending on severity. Some people are able to stop teeth grinding by making lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress levels or avoiding caffeine. In other cases, it is something that never goes away and a mouthguard must always be worn. Whatever the case may be, your dentist can help you to resolve it and prevent any further headaches or pain.