It's not an uncommon problem: many people report that their teeth hurt when they wake up in the morning. It can ruin your day, making it harder to eat and even extending into a headache for some people. If you have this problem regularly and don't know what to make of it, this is what you should know.
Grinding Your Teeth
The most likely cause of your tooth pain is that you're grinding your teeth in your sleep. People tend to do this more often when they're stressed, but you can end up doing it for no reason at all. Some people simply grit their teeth together when they're asleep and don't fully relax the muscles that support the jaw, putting excess strain on the teeth. Unfortunately, it's not something you have much control over, given how you're unconscious while it's going on.
Besieged by Bacteria
Maybe you've noticed that you grind your teeth during the day but are surprised that it doesn't hurt as much as when you wake up. There are a couple of potential reasons for this.
The first is that you're awake while you're grinding your teeth during the day, so you can adjust your behavior. You may be even doing this without being aware of it. Simply grinding for a minute or so isn't going to cause a lot of pain to all of your teeth.
However, what's even more important here is that your teeth could be under attack by bacteria while you're asleep. Bacteria starts to develop and build up after you brush your teeth for the night, and it has hours to reproduce and take over the mouth. This is why it's so important to brush your teeth during the morning, but as far as grinding goes, the bacteria can temporarily weaken your tooth enamel, making it easier for your teeth to hurt each other when they grind together.
If you think you grind your teeth you should visit with a dentist to have them checked out. Regular grinding can wear down your teeth, weaken your enamel, and even cause cracks to develop. It's worth getting checked to be sure that your teeth are all healthy and intact.
From there, you can talk to your dentist about a grinding guard. This is something you can wear at night that prevents your teeth from making contact with each other so that grinding no longer occurs.