Grinding teeth, or bruxism, is a common condition in children, and most teeth grinding takes place during the nighttime hours. Depending on the intensity and frequency of the grinding, bruxism puts your child at risk for a variety of dental problems. In most cases, children who grind their teeth don’t even know they’re doing it, so it’s often up to parents and siblings to identify the problem.
Your child may be a teeth grinder if he or she:
- Makes grinding noises when sleeping
- Experiences frequent headaches
- Is unusually sensitive to hot and cold foods
- Has pain when chewing
- Complains of sore jaw muscles after waking up in the morning
What causes bruxism?
One of the most common causes for bruxism is “bad bite,” when the top and bottom teeth aren’t aligned properly. Another cause is stress or nervous tension. If your child is starting a new school, has an important exam coming up, or is arguing with parents or siblings, this can trigger teeth grinding. Hyperactivity in children can also be a factor.
Why is Bruxism harmful?
Bruxism is harmful to your child’s teeth for several reasons. It can wear down tooth enamel, chip teeth, cause jaw and facial pain and problems, and gum injury. When the bruxism is severe, it may lead to a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
You can help your child with his or her teeth grinding by creating a calm and peaceful environment before bedtime such as running a warm bath, reading a book or playing soothing music. It’s also a good idea to talk to your child regularly about how their feeling and what may be causing them stress. Ten work together to determine ways you may be able to help.
In most cases, children who grind their teeth outgrow it by the time they reach their teenage years. In the meantime, it’s important to keep an eye on your child to help curb the condition, as well as schedule regular dental visits to help find and treat any damage caused by bruxism. In some cases, your child’s dentist may recommend the use of a night guard to curb the behavior.
Schedule an appointment
If you are interested in learning more about identifying and treating bruxism in children, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.