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Why Bruxism?: Identifying Some Common Risk Factors

We've talked a lot in previous blogs about the common symptoms of bruxism in most patients, and also the everyday elements that can exacerbate the condition – as well as counterbalance it and help with treatment.  But what if you were just born with a predisposition to be a grinder?

At the end of the day, bruxism is one of many medical conditions that doctors are unable to point a cause of with any specificity. Rather over decades of study, there have been certain factors that crop up with regularity amongst those who grind and clench their teeth that are believed to put certain people at higher risk for having bruxism.

Here are some of those factors, outlined by The Mayo Clinic and other authorities:

child brushing teeth

Age: We have received, from time to time, requests from parents whose children are grinders as to whether we can craft ClearClub guards for their kids to use. We don't recommend this unless you've consulted thoroughly with your dentist because a child's teeth are constantly shifting, which makes the long-term use of a molded guard difficult. However, it highlights a good point: Many who suffer from bruxism do so when they are young and grow out of it as adults.  Not everyone, obviously, which leads us to the the other risk factors...

Stress: You may have noted that we've written several blogs covering ways to mitigate stress that can compound your issues with grinding and clenching. This is with good reason; those whose daily routines are stressful are often at risk for bruxism both during the day and while sleeping. Anger and frustration are also two emotions that, if accumulated, can make the situation worse.

man playing racquetball

Personality type: Are you the type of person who might sometimes enjoy conflict, even if it's an aggressive debate between friends? Are you hyper-competitive, both in your workplace endeavors and in your off-hours activities, such as sports? Maybe you're the sort who is hyperactive and very talkative by nature? All of these personality traits, while not a definitive marker, do commonly turn up in folks who suffer from bruxism.

A family history: This is one of those risk factors that presents the biggest question mark, because unlike with many other serious medical ailments there is no strong genetic marker that suggests bruxism may be an inherited trait. That said, sleep bruxism in particular has often presented in patients who have relatives who grind and clench at night, so if you are aware of parents, grandparents, older relatives etc. who do it then this may put you at higher risk.

Photo of prescription medication

Medications and controlled substances: As we've previously discussed in some of our blogs about dietary habits, consuming lots of caffeine not only can disrupt your sleep pattern but is a frequent contributor to bruxism. Nicotine (including vaping) and recreational drug use are both in this same category of agitators for grinders. That said even if you don't use these or eliminate them, you may want to consult your physician if you are on some prescriptions; for example, psychiatric meds such as antidepressants have also been known to affect those who have bruxism.

Additional medical disorders: Frequently bruxism presents in some individuals as not a primary condition, but one which goes hand-in-hand with another issue that is either of a physical or mental nature. Some of the conditions that may present alongside bruxism include (but are not limited to): sleep apnea, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, night terrors, dementia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).


Woman putting in a dental guard

Some, or maybe none, of these particular risk factors may apply to you... but ultimately, if you are grinding your teeth then a dental guard is a sound investment. ClearClub's custom-fit, low-cost night guards will help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, and start as low as $95 for your first guard. Plus, they are shipped directly to your door! Your teeth will thank you. 

Have questions? Our customer support team can help, or you can check out our FAQ for more information.