Child Bruxism

Bruxism (grinding teeth) and Pediatric Dentistry

After the bedtime stories and lights out, you may hear the gnashing of teeth…and no; I don’t mean the whines of a child that doesn’t want to go to bed. I mean kids grinding teeth. Grinding, formally known as bruxism, is actually seen in about 30% of children. In fact, most kids who grind their teeth are unaware of it because it often happens while they are asleep. Also, some kids clench their jaw while awake yet are also unaware of this.

Why does bruxism occur?

Unfortunately, there isn’t necessarily an exact or easy answer for why your child may be experiencing bruxism or teeth grinding. Looking at your child’s overall health and emotional stability may help you to find what is helping to trigger the jaw clenching or teeth grinding. It may also help you figure out just how severe their bruxism may be.

In some children, teeth grinding is a result of the following:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Minor illnesses
  • Poor teeth alignment (malocclusion)
  • Jaw growth
  • Allergies
  • Sleep disorders
  • Losing baby teeth

My child might be grinding their teeth, what should I look for?

Not exactly sure whether or not your child is suffering from bruxism? Along with grinding noises, if your child is complaining of  jaw or facial pain, issues when chewing, or tooth sensitivity, bruxism just may be the issue. Going to routine check-ups always helps to monitor the growth of your child’s mouth, as well as any wear on their teeth. Your child’s pediatric dentist can help to diagnose if your child looks to be suffering from some nightly teeth grinding.

Though teeth grinding is not usually something that should be a major concern for you or your child, bruxism can lead to a few health concerns for your child. Kids grinding teeth may cause worn down teeth, headaches, receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and jaw aches. Some children even endure jaw, neck, and back pain after nights of teeth grinding. Yikes!

What do I do if I or my child suffers from bruxism?

Wondering what to do? Don’t be too worried. Thankfully, most children grow out of child bruxism by their preteen years – hooray! – so thankfully, treatment isn’t regularly necessary beyond being diagnosed. Make sure that your child is not experiencing high levels of stress or fear, and encourage your child to talk about feelings and emotions. Also, be sure that your child is eating a diverse and healthy diet along with staying properly hydrated. Taking these precautions may solve the issue at hand. For some special cases, a custom fit nightguard may be prescribed, also known as a type of mouthguard that is worn when sleeping. This will keep your child from causing too much wear to teeth and soft tissue in the mouth.

When it comes to our kids and health, it is so important to pay attention to the little things. Something as simple as child bruxism could point to stressful or anxiety-causing situations in your family’s life. Give us a call or request an appointment with your Nashville pediatric dentist online to keep those sweet smiles in check. Routine teeth cleanings could be the key to a happier, healthier kid.