The gritting and screeching sound of a child grinding his teeth can be very unnerving to parents, and many parents wonder what is wrong with their child. However, teeth grinding, known as “bruxism,” is quite common in younger children. Why is your child grinding his teeth? Is there anything you can do to deal with this problem?
Here’s a closer look at teeth grinding in children. Our pediatric dentistry in Houston may provide the solutions you need.
Reasons Children Grind Teeth at Night
There are several reasons that children grind their teeth at night. In small children, they often grind their teeth as they get used to having teeth in their mouth. Grinding also occurs because a child is growing. The child’s teeth and jaws are continuing to grow, and many children grind their teeth as they adjust to this new growth.
Childhood bruxism has also been linked to teething, earaches, anxiety, pain, breathing problems, and malocclusion, which is a term for when the child’s teeth don’t line up correctly.
Talk to Your Child’s Dentist About Bruxism
It’s always a good idea to talk to your child’s dentist if you notice that your child is grinding his teeth at night. This way your child’s dentist can look for any potential problems, such as tooth fractures, pulp exposure, or cavities. However, it usually isn’t a problem in younger children. As a child’s permanent teeth start developing, most children will simply grow out of the habit.
Ensure Your Child is Relaxed
Of course, if the grinding becomes severely annoying there are a couple things to try. If you think the bruxism is caused by stress, ensure your child is relaxed, particularly at bedtime.
Stretching exercises, a massage, or relaxing bedtime routines may help. If you notice your child grinding his teeth during the day, get them involved in another activity, such as talking or eating.
Older Children Suffering Bruxism are More in Danger
Once your child becomes a teenager, if you continue to notice grinding, talk to your dentist again. A teen already has his permanent teeth, and it’s important to prevent damage to the permanent teeth.
Your teen’s dentist may want to create a custom night guard for your child that will stop the problem and keep teeth protected, ensuring your teen doesn’t cause serious damage to the permanent teeth.