happy-smile-and-white-teeth_GJE0cVPuSymptoms of Teeth Grinding

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
  • Enlarged jaw muscles
  • Earache — because of severe jaw muscle contractions, not a problem with your ear
  • Headache
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Chewed tissue on the inside of your cheek
  • Indentations on your tongue

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor or dentist if:

  • Your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive
  • You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
  • Others complain that you make a grinding noise while you


Doctors don’t completely understand the causes of bruxism. Possible physical or psychological causes may include:

  • Anxiety, stress or tension
  • Suppressed anger or frustration
  • Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type
  • Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)
  • Changes that occur during sleep cycles
  • Response to pain from an earache or teething (in children)
  • Growth and development of the jaws and teeth (for children)
  • Complication resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
  • An uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications, including certain antidepressants.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Signs and symptoms of periodontitis can include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Gums that feel tender when touched
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
  • New spaces developing between your teeth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

There are different types, or classes, of periodontitis. The most common class is chronic periodontitis — the typical type that most adults older than age 35 have. Periodontitis that begins in childhood or early adulthood is called aggressive periodontitis.


Complications that periodontitis can cause or be associated with include:

  • Tooth loss
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Low birth weight babies
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Respiratory problems

Some of these complications may come as a surprise. But research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can travel through your bloodstream, affecting many parts of your body. For instance, bacteria may travel to the arteries in your heart. There, they can trigger a cycle of inflammation and arterial narrowing that contributes to heart attacks.