As one is transitioning from a sleeping state (SWS) to a waking state the autonomic nervous system, motor system, and cognitive processes are activated. Sleep disorders known as parasomnias involve this transition and include a number of different and unusual physical or mental activities. Teeth grinding is one of these as is restless legs syndrome and others such as sleep walking, night-terrors, and arousal confusion that are more common in children.
Those that deal with bruxism (teeth grinding) during sleep may also have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth in waking hours but are able to control the impulse. In any event this clenching or the strain to control it can also lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome) and the jaw pain associated with it. Also the teeth themselves can be damaged from the physical grinding. A physical remedy to prevent teeth damage is to obtain a mouth guard from the dentist to wear during sleeping hours.
To provide long lasting help the root cause is helpful but the reasons for teeth grinding are not well documented. The website TeethGrindingAnswerSharing.com lists 14 possible reasons for sleep grinding:
• Anxiety or stress the person may be undergoing;
• Digestive problems;
• Asymmetrical teeth – teeth that are shaped or positioned differently on each sides of the jaw, or poor bite alignment;
• Irregular or disturbed sleep patterns – an experiment was conducted at the Nippon Dental University in Tokyo that concluded there was a positive correlation between sleep stage 1 (the first stage: drowsiness) and teeth grinding, suggesting that those with bruxism typically have unstable and shallower sleep patterns and/or sleep disorders;
• A deficiency in pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5). This is an anti-stress vitamin that reduces the product of certain hormones and helps control motor activity, including that of the reflexes of the jaw;
• Calcium deficiency;
• Magnesium deficiency may be another causes, as it can cause spasms and affects people at night;
• Dislocated jaw;
• Central nervous system disorders;
• Having a new dental filling installed;
• Parasites are another possible cause. A common parasite call a pinworm can cause it. A large percentage of the population has some form of parasite, so a stool analysis test may be needed to test for this;
• Ecstasy use or abuse (MDMA);
• Substances or medications cited as possible causes of teeth grinding include: Atapryl, Carbex, Catovit, Dopar, Eldenpryl, L-Denprenyl, Larodopa, Levodopa, Lodosyn, Prolintane, Selegiline, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, and Ecstasy as listed above;
• Internalization of a person’s anger can manifest itself in bruxism.