Is It Bad To Clench Teeth While Lifting Weights?

dentist showing patient x-ray


Have you noticed teeth wear or an increase in cavities after starting to push weight in your local gym or Crossfit Box? This is not a coincidence, it is true that weightlifting can actually cause tooth wear and damage. We see lots of athletes or people who strength train or weight lift at places like Crossfit Durham at our dentist office in Durham and our other locations. Frequently, they have cavities or damage to their teeth. This is because yes, it is bad for your teeth to clench them while weightlifting.


Teeth are made, amongst other things, of extremely hard enamel. When this hard material rubs against itself, like when you clench or grind your teeth while weightlifting, there is resulting damage. It is a natural tendency of weightlifters to clench their teeth. When you are pushing heavy weight while squatting or deadlifting, the strain you are exerting and the focus required often leads to clenching your teeth. People clench their teeth when exerting themselves, sometimes as a natural response that is intended to make the head and neck a more solid unit. However, this habit can be bad for your chompers.


When you clench or grind your teeth during a lift, over time you can cause damage in the form of small holes or cracks. That small crack can quickly be filled with small food particles from a post-workout meal, and you are well on your way to a cavity. To avoid this, make sure that you are lifting a safe amount and using proper form. We are not lifting experts, but if you are careful about form and weight, you will exert a bit less and be less likely to clench those teeth.


If clenching your teeth is just a habit you have, and you don’t want to adjust your lifting weight or form, consider using a mouthguard. This will minimize damage when clenching your teeth by preventing your teeth from touching and prevent enamel from grinding against enamel. This will prevent damage like cracks or small holes in your teeth.


As a side note, it is also good to avoid super sugary workout or exercise drinks, as the high sugar content can damage your teeth and potentially lead to cavities. If you simply can’t resist, make sure you are brushing your teeth frequently and thoroughly, as soon as you can after ingesting a sugary beverage.


Do you have a cavity or tooth damage from clenching your teeth? Come see one of our dentists today!

If you already have tooth damage or a cavity, come see one of our dentists at our locations throughout the Triangle and NC. Our friendly and professional staff will evaluate the damage to your teeth and quickly and effectively repair it and get your smile back to 100%! Find your local Lane office here online or contact us to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to make you smile!