Chronic Headaches and Teeth Grinding: The Relationship

Teeth Grinding Night Guards

Do you suffer from headaches or migraines? Teeth grinding at night or during times of stress may be a part of the underlying issue.

By now, most of us will have heard about a night guard or sleep mouthguard that is designed to protect your pearly whites from a night time of teeth grinding and relieve jaw pain. The dental benefits of a night guard are too advantageous to ignore, but those morning or tension headaches you are experiencing may also be an indicator of teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching. 

Teeth grinding can most certainly damage your teeth, but the associated force and pressure is also something to keep in mind. We have a lot of bite force through our jaws and when we purposely clench down with force (like we do when teeth grinding or jaw clenching) our bite force doubles when compared to standard chewing. This force puts immense pressure on the surrounding muscles including our temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is used by our jaw and cheeks. Therefore, the constant grinding or clenching motion is putting these muscles under strain and working them far more than normal, so a headache is quite often the undesired outcome of this stress on the body. 

How can a night guard help with headaches?

If your headaches are the result of teeth grinding or jaw clenching then a night guard may be an ideal solution. Well designed night guards are designed to not only protect your teeth, but also distribute your bite force across the whole guard and away from teeth. This will result in less strain on your TMJ muscle, a better night's sleep and little to no tension headache the following day. 

Keep in mind:

- Are your headaches caused by teeth grinding or is there another factor? Speak to your doctor or dentist if you have any questions.

- Does the night guard you have chosen disperse force across the entire guard?

- Is the night guard hard or soft? View our other blog for our opinion.

- How much money do you want to spend on a night guard? Protecting your teeth is definitely important, but prices vary significantly and there is a balance between cost and quality available. Do your research.

- Sleeping with a night guard can take a little time to get used to (it is something foreign in your mouth after all), but it is most certainly possible. Do you think you can make this adjustment? Seriously consider this question before potentially spending big dollars on a solution.

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