Through recent years, headlines like this one seem to have become routine:
But while stress is indeed the leading cause of bruxing – habitual clenching and grinding, often during sleep – it’s far from the only factor involved, as a new paper  in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation reminds.
Reviewing the biomedical literature, the team of European researchers sought “an ‘evidence-based’ answer” to the question of whether bruxing might be hereditary.
The biomedical literature was searched using PubMed, and 32 publications were identified, of which nine proved relevant to the research question. The references cited by the publications identified yielded one further publication, bringing the total number of publications included in the analysis to 10. Four publications related to family studies, five related to twin studies and one related to a DNA analysis. With the exception of one of the twin studies, all the included studies concluded that bruxism appears to be (in part) genetically determined. [emphasis added]
And the other part? It may be stress. Or malocclusion. Or sleep apnea. Or mineral deficiency. Or…
Whatever the specific cause, it’s important to address it. For the habit is far more than a mere annoyance. Problems related to clenching and grinding range from chronic headaches to face, jaw, neck and back pain, to worn down or broken teeth.
To learn more about bruxing and what to do about it, see Dr. Verigin’s article “The Daily (and Nightly) Grind.”