Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a fairly common condition among children. In fact it is so common in young children that there is usually no cause for concern when it occurs under the age of 7. However, if it continues in the adult dentition, the pediatric dentists at Pedodontic Associates on Oahu and Maui suggest parents take this condition seriously. Despite affecting up to 30% of children, the fact that it is common is no reason to ignore bruxism. With the potential to erode enamel and cause jaw issues, the issue should be addressed proactively.
A Pediatric Dentist’s Guide to Teeth Grinding in Children
Why Does My Child Grind Their Teeth?
There are many reasons why a child might grind their teeth. While misalignment could be one reason, a child might also grind their teeth when they’re experiencing pain, such as from a headache or earache. Additionally, bruxism can be a side effect from certain types of medications. Hyperactive or stressed children may grind their teeth at night as well. Overly tired children seem to grind more as do kids who are experiencing an upper respiratory infection.
Because bruxism typically occurs during sleep phases, a child may not even know about it until it’s pointed out to them. In addition to listening and watching for teeth grinding, parents can also ask children if they experience any facial or jaw pain upon waking up or while eating.
What Can Be Done to Stop It?
Eradicating the behavior often requires parents to address the root cause. If a child is nervous about something, for instance, talking it out or implementing a soothing bedtime routine may help. On the other hand, if the grinding occurs because of an anatomical reason, a children’s dentist can help. They may outfit your child for a customized mouthguard, suggest orthodontics to address misalignment, or both. While mouthguards take some getting used to, they are one of the most effective ways to prevent the habit.
If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth and would like professional input on ways to treat it, bring them to Pedodontic Associates. These pediatric dentists have provided oral care to infants, children, and adolescents across Oahu and Maui for over 25 years. Schedule an appointment at the office nearest you by calling (808) 735-1733 for Honolulu, (808) 487-7933 for Aiea, and (808) 877-0066 for Kahului. For more information about their services, visit them online.