Can Bruxism Cause Mouth Ulcers?

20th Feb 2022

Can Bruxism Cause Mouth Ulcers?

If you grind your teeth and have noticed small red sores on the inside of your mouth, you might be asking yourself if bruxism is the culprit. Mouth ulcers are also commonly referred to as canker sores or aphthous ulcers and there are many reasons why they might develop on the soft tissue of your cheeks, tongue, or gums. They’re a fairly common affliction; Around 20% of people will develop at least one in their lifetime. So, can bruxism cause mouth ulcers? We’ll answer this question, identify other possible causes of mouth ulcers, and explore treatment options.

can bruxism cause mouth ulcers

Does Bruxism / TMJ Cause Mouth Ulcers?

Emotional stress is one of the most common underlying causes of mouth ulcers, bruxism, and jaw joint conditions like TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. For this reason, there is a strong connection between teeth grinding and mouth ulcers. According to a recent Italian study, people with bruxism tend to get recurrent mouth ulcers on the insides of their cheeks, in addition to other painful side effects such as facial pain, headaches, tooth decay/worn tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity/toothaches, periodontal disease (gum disease), and sore jaw muscles. If you do not suffer from bruxism or TMD, there are other potential causes of mouth ulcers as well.

What Are the Other Causes of Mouth Ulcers?

Identifying the reason you’re getting mouth sores is the best way to select the right treatment options. According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to emotional stress, you might develop mouth ulcers as a result of:

  • Minor mouth injuries from dental work, brushing too hard, or accidentally biting your cheek
  • Helicobacter pylori (a type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers)
  • Sensitivity to cheese, spicy or acidic foods, nuts, strawberries, coffee, or chocolate
  • Use of toothpastes and oral hygiene products with sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Low levels of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, or folic acid

How Are Mouth Ulcers Treated?

Usually, you can treat mouth ulcers at home using one or more of the following treatments:

  • Salt Water/Baking Soda Rinses: Rinsing your mouth with salt water or baking soda may reduce pain and soreness. To make a rinse at home, stir one teaspoon of baking soda or table salt into half a cup of warm water until it’s dissolved. Then, gargle with the rinse for at least 30 seconds. Rinses can be used several times a day.
  • Ice: Placing ice on your mouth ulcers will help with swelling. Place small pieces of ice directly on your ulcers, and hold until the ice melts.
  • Topical Anesthetics: Dabbing topical anesthetics on your ulcers can make eating less painful. You can use a topical anesthetic that you purchase over the counter. Most over-the-counter topical anesthetics contain benzocaine, fluocinonide, or hydrogen peroxide. Always apply the anesthetic exactly as directed on the label.
  • Natural Remedies: Some people have found success applying honey or milk of magnesia to their ulcers. You can use a cotton swab to apply these remedies. Rinsing your mouth with lukewarm chamomile tea or licorice root mouthwash could be beneficial, and you may want to apply a cold compress.

can teeth grinding cause mouth ulcers

If home treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend trying:

  • Prescription Medicines: Sucralfate (a medicine for treating intestinal ulcers) and colchicine (a gout medication) are some of the first-line medicines for severe mouth ulcers. If these don’t work, corticosteroids may be needed.
  • Cautery: This treatment method is used to destroy ulcers, normally by burning or freezing them. Silver nitrate, debacterol, and other chemicals may be used for cautery. If chemical cautery isn’t an option, your doctor can use lasers or surgical instruments to remove your mouth ulcers.

When you’re trying to find the most effective treatment for your mouth ulcers, it’s vital that you treat any underlying dental health or medical conditions. For example, if you have autoimmune conditions or infections that are contributing to the severity of your mouth ulcers, treating these conditions may help your mouth ulcers heal more quickly and completely. If bruxism is causing you to develop mouth sores, your dentist or doctor might recommend wearing night guards to reduce damage to your teeth and the insides of your cheeks. Good oral hygiene is also imperative to prevent mouth sores.

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When Should I See My Doctor About Mouth Ulcers?

The Cleveland Clinic suggests that you make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Mouth ulcers are accompanied by fever or diarrhea
  • Large or painless mouth ulcers
  • New mouth ulcers that develop before old ulcers have healed
  • Mouth ulcers located on the outer parts of your lips (these may be cold sores or fever blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus which are contagious)
  • Mouth ulcers that don’t heal after two weeks
  • Mouth pain that doesn’t get better after using over-the-counter medicines

What Can I Do To Prevent Future Mouth Ulcers?

The answer to the question, can bruxism cause mouth ulcers, is yes. With bruxism, stress, diet, poor oral hygiene, and underlying health problems contributing to the development of mouth ulcers, lifestyle modifications and self-care are vital for prevention. You may want to try guided imagery or meditation to reduce stress levels, and eating more fruits and vegetables could help you prevent the nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to mouth sores. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush after meals, and floss daily to remove debris from acidic or spicy foods that may trigger mouth ulcers. Always follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations when treating any underlying oral health or medical conditions, including bruxism.

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Bruxism and Mouth Ulcers

Stress is the main connection between bruxism and mouth ulcers. Teeth grinding and mouth sores are often brought on by emotional stress, so it is not uncommon that the conditions appear simultaneously. Some foods, bacterias, and vitamin deficiencies are also known to cause mouth ulcers. Fortunately, there are many home remedies to treat ulcers. If they persist or progress; however, visit your doctor for treatment advice.

If your healthcare provider suggests using a night guard to treat and prevent mouth sores, consider the custom fitted night guards from Pro Teeth Guard. We make our products in a professional dental lab with high-quality materials, so our mouthguards match what you’d get from your dentist. Shop confidently with our 110% money-back guarantee.

References:

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