Why Does My Child Grind His Teeth?

Teeth grinding is a serious dental issue because it often leads to the erosion of your tooth enamel. Formally known as bruxism, it is also a common dental problem, especially in children. There are two main types of bruxism: nocturnal and diurnal.

Nocturnal bruxism is the more common type and it takes place while you are asleep. Diurnal bruxism refers to when you habitually grind your teeth while you are asleep.

Causes of teeth grinding

According to the Nemours Foundation, about three out of every ten children grinds their teeth during their younger years. In many cases, the child eventually outgrows it. The primary cause of teeth grinding in small children is not clear. However, misaligned teeth are one of the main suspects. Children tend to grind their teeth when they experience pain, anxiety or stress.

Teeth grinding in children can also be a result of cerebral palsy, certain medications or hyperactivity. Children who grind their teeth often deal with jaw problems, earaches, headaches and facial pain. If people do not address the grinding in a timely manner, it will chip away at tooth enamel and cause permanent damage.

Figuring out of your child has bruxism

Figuring out if a child has bruxism can be quite a challenge since most children do not even realize they are doing it. Bruxism occurs at night when your child is sleeping, so check up on your child in the middle of the night for grinding sounds. You can also ask one of your other children that share a room with the child in question if he/she hears the other grinding teeth at night.

If your child regularly complains about headaches, a sore jaw or pain when biting, these are also signs of teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can also be a result of emotions like anger or anxiety. Many children experience more anxiety than their parents think. Some cases of teeth grinding will not go away until the child addresses the root cause. You can try to relax your child before bedtime with things that reduce stress like soothing music or a warm bath.

What to do when you find out your child grinds his/her teeth

If you believe your child is dealing with bruxism, the next step is to schedule a dental examination so that we can make a proper diagnosis. The dentist will order a custom mouth guard for your child to wear at night to reduce the damage of grinding teeth. Wearing a mouth guard will also help to reduce the soreness from tooth grinding.

If your child grinds his/her teeth as a result of stress or anxiety, dealing with the underlying issue can help alleviate symptoms. While most children eventually outgrow this bad habit, addressing the issues that cause it can speed up the process.

Convinced your child grinds his/her teeth regularly? Contact one of our dentists to discuss the best course of treatment today.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental, request an appointment in our Richmond dental office here: https://www.grandparkwaypediatricdental.com. Or call us at (832) 579-0960.

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