Teeth grinding, or bruxism is prevalent among children and can result in dental issues and discomfort. Suppose your child experiences jaw soreness upon waking up or shows signs of teeth grinding. In that case, it might be a good idea to seek advice from a pediatric dentist.
What Does Bruxism in Children Mean?
Bruxism in children refers to the grinding or clenching of teeth outside chewing activities. Usually, it occurs during sleep but may also manifest during periods of wakefulness. Children are often unaware of their bruxism as it happens involuntarily.
What Are the Signs of Bruxism?
Around 15% to 20% of children commonly experience teeth grinding. While some parents may hear their children grinding their teeth during sleep, it is often challenging to identify bruxism because children, like adults, are usually unaware of this habit. Look out for the following symptoms and signs that your child may exhibit while grinding or clenching their teeth:
- Frequent headaches and earaches
- Jaw pain or difficulty chewing
- TMJ disorders, which may involve jaw clicking and other issues
- Teeth wear and tear or tooth sensitivity
- Subtle mouth movements, such as clenching, while the child is engaged in activities like watching TV, reading, studying, or focusing on a task
- Chattering or grinding sounds during sleep.
What Leads to Teeth Grinding in Children?
The exact cause of teeth grinding in children may not always be fully understood, and it can vary in each case. However, it is often associated with one or more of the following factors:
- Discomfort from teething or earaches
- Improper alignment of the teeth
- Stress, anxiety, or excitement – which is the most common cause of teeth grinding
- Medical conditions such as hyperactivity, cerebral palsy, or certain medications
- Sleep-related issues like snoring or sleep apnea
What Are the Available Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding?
While not all cases require immediate intervention, children who grind their teeth may face potential long-term consequences. These may include an elevated risk of TMJ disorders, jaw complications, migraines, tooth sensitivity, and worn enamel. Treatment approaches should be tailored to each case and may involve:
- Nighttime mouth guards (for those who grind their teeth unconsciously during sleep)
- Protective sealants to safeguard tooth enamel proactively
- Braces to address alignment problems
- Therapy or counseling to address underlying stress factors
How Can Parents Assist Their Child with Bruxism?
There are several measures parents can take to support their child with bruxism:
- Encourage relaxation: Creating a calm and soothing environment before bedtime can help reduce stress, a common trigger for teeth clenching. Activities like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, or reading a book can promote relaxation.
- Use a mouthguard: Nighttime mouthguards protect teeth from grinding damage during sleep. A mouthguard can provide a protective barrier and alleviate the impact on teeth.
- Ensure a comfortable sleep environment: A comfortable environment promotes quality sleep. Ensure your child has a supportive mattress, comfortable pillows, a cool room temperature, and minimal noise disturbance.
- Promote good dental hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is essential to prevent dental problems associated with bruxism. Encourage your child to brush teeth regularly, floss diligently, and schedule regular dental checkups.
- Consult with a pediatric dentist: It is advisable to consult with a pediatric dentist to evaluate the severity of the bruxism and explore appropriate treatment options. They can provide professional guidance and recommend personalized strategies for managing bruxism.
Suppose your child complains of or experiences teeth clenching or grinding symptoms. In that case, discussing the matter with a pediatric dentist is essential. While bruxism can be challenging, proper treatment and management can contribute to your child’s oral health and overall well-being, ensuring a happy and healthy smile.
Embrace a Proactive Approach to Pediatric Dental Care in Roseville, CA
Miners Ravine Dental Group in Roseville, CA, is dedicated to providing a convenient and enjoyable experience for parents and children seeking pediatric dental services. With our friendly environment and caring team, we prioritize your child’s oral health.
To book an appointment at Miners Ravine Dental Group to discuss treatment and prevention of teeth clenching or grinding, please contact us at (916) 784-3337.