Teeth grinding is something that people of all ages experience, but it tends to be particularly common in young children. Understanding how it can affect your child and what you can do as a parent to help this situation is important in finding relief. It can be a painful and uncomfortable experience for your child so finding a solution that will provide some relief is important. First, let’s get started with what teeth grinding is.
What is teeth grinding (bruxism)?
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a condition in which you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. You can unconsciously grind your teeth while you are awake or while you are sleeping at night. For children who might clench or grind their teeth, it is possible that it will go away as they get older or turn into a more severe condition in adolescence and as an adult.
What causes teeth grinding in children?
While it’s difficult to narrow down the exact cause of teeth grinding in children, there are a few different triggers for why this occurs. Some of the most common causes that are said to cause teeth grinding include:
- Stress: Very frequently, teeth grinding can be attributed to stress in a child. Whether they are starting a new school or dealing with bullying at school, this can elicit a stress response in their bodies that causes grinding to occur.
- Pain: In some cases, your child could be combatting pain they may be experiencing in their ear that feels like a toothache. For this reason, it can cause them to begin grinding their teeth.
- Mis-aligned teeth: If your child’s teeth are not fully aligned yet, this can be another reason why grinding is taking place.
- Other medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause a greater likelihood for your child to develop bruxism due to certain medications they have to take.
What are the common symptoms of bruxism?
If you think your child might be grinding their teeth excessively at night, it’s important to understand and know the symptoms of bruxism so that you can actively look for them. The most common symptoms you should look out for in your child include:
- Difficulty sleeping or staying awake during the day
- Jaw pain
- Damage to the structure of teeth
- Tissue damage around the gums
How can I prevent my child from grinding their teeth at night?
If you think that your child is consistently grinding their teeth, there are a few different things you can do as a parent to help this situation. Here are some of the tips we recommend to help them stop grinding:
- Create a good bedtime routine to ensure your child is properly brushing their teeth.
- Ensure that your child stays hydrated throughout the day and is eating a healthy diet.
- Avoid allowing your child to have any caffeinated drinks.
- Play comforting music or read a book with your child to help them wind down before bed.
- Work with your child to help reduce any stress and anxiety they might be experiencing.
- Speak with a pediatric dentist to address any concerns you have about your child’s teeth and to get on track with stopping bruxism.
While these are just tips, it’s best to speak with your child’s dentist to get a proper diagnosis and find a solution for teeth grinding in your child. It’s likely that their dentist might recommend a nightguard to wear during sleep or other types of mouthguards that will help reduce the harmful effects grinding has on teeth.
Still have questions?
If you still have questions or concerns about your kid grinding their teeth, please reach out to our office and we can set you up with an appointment. With any dental concern, it’s best to get ahead of the problem before it becomes worse in older children. Contact us today at Cavanaugh Dental to schedule an appointment and put a stop to children grinding their teeth.