Jaw Clench Jitters: The Teeth Grinding Consequences of Stimulant Use

If you’ve ever woken up to a sore jaw in the morning or a loved one has mentioned that you grind your teeth in their sleep, it might be a condition known as bruxism. This is a somewhat common but often overlooked health concern. Our experience in treating stimulant addiction shows that stimulant use may cause it. leading to a series of unwelcome health complications. If you are worried about the condition’s cause on you or a loved one, we break down symptoms, warning signs and treatment options for stimulant-induced teeth grinding.

Teeth Grinding: Bruxism

The involuntary clenching, grinding, or gnashing of teeth characterises bruxism. Although it can happen during the day, it most commonly occurs at night while you are asleep. There are two types of bruxism: awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism usually results from stress or anxiety, whereas sleep bruxism is thought to be linked to sleep-related disorders or an abnormal bite.
Many people with bruxism remain unaware of their condition, as it tends to happen in their sleep. However, there are signs and symptoms to look out for, including the following:

  • Waking up with a sore jaw, facial pain, or stiffness
  • Persistent headaches or earaches
  • Teeth sensitivity or worn-down teeth
  • Evidence of indentations on the tongue or inner cheek
  • Loud grinding that wakes up your sleeping partner

If not addressed appropriately, bruxism can lead to teeth fractures, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), and even tooth loss.

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Stimulants: The Hidden Catalyst

Various factors contribute to the development of bruxism, including:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Abnormal bite or misaligned teeth

While these factors can lead to the development of bruxism, stimulants are another prominent yet underestimated instigator associated with this condition. Here are some examples of implicated stimulants:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Amphetamine
  • Ecstasy

Stimulants increase activity in the brain, impacting alertness and mood. These substances are known to excite functional activity in the central nervous system. Certain neurotransmitters play vital roles in the brain’s regulatory functions. To illustrate, dopamine and norepinephrine have a significant role in brain areas related to regulating attention and executive function.

Stimulants work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters in your brain. They do this by slowing down the reabsorption of these neurotransmitters back into the neural network. For example, amphetamines make the central nervous system work faster by increasing the number of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

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Discovering the Right Treatment

Family therapy

During our 25+ years of helping people with stimulant addictions improve their well-being through comprehensive addiction treatment programmes, we discovered that effective treatment of bruxism requires identifying the root cause. Once the underlying factors have been determined, possible treatment options provided by the Providence Projects include:

  • Stress management techniques, such as meditation, exercise, or counselling
  • Dental intervention includes a custom-fit mouthguard, orthodontic treatment, or bite adjustment
  • Addressing sleep disorder issues through lifestyle changes, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, or medication
  • Reducing alcohol, caffeine, or smoking habits

If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from bruxism, contact our team of experts. We can help you prevent further damage and assess your stimulant use disorder. Early intervention ensures your physical well-being and improves mental health and overall quality of life.

How the Providence Projects Pave the Path to Sobriety

Our life-changing therapies aim to assist you in overcoming dependence on stimulants. Our specially designed addiction rehabilitation programmes can help you overcome the trauma and stigma of addiction. If stimulant-induced jaw-clenching concerns you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can conquer the road to recovery and healthy living.

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