While most parents rightfully focus many of their efforts in the realm of child dental care on preventing cavities and tooth decay, these two issues aren’t the only possible concerns facing younger mouths. In fact, there’s one oral health risk that may even be more prevalent than either of these in some children: Bruxism, or teeth grinding.
At Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry, we boast several services that will assist you with bruxism issues in your child, from preventive services to help limit these concerns to digital dental X-rays that help us assess any damage potentially created by the grinding of teeth. Let’s go over some of the basics you need to know about bruxism, including signs that it might be impacting your child plus treatment options available if this is the case.
Bruxism Basics and Causes
Bruxism affects over one in four children, particularly those aged ranging from three to 10 years old. As we noted, it refers to any issue of tooth-grinding or related tooth pressure caused by locking or rotating the jaw. By far the most common time for the actual tooth-grinding part of bruxism to take place is during the night while children sleep, a period where many young mouths simply lock closed by reflex.
Bruxism can be caused by a few things, most of which are tough-to-define external factors like anxiety, stress, hyperactivity or similar areas. In some other cases, bruxism might form as a reaction to a particular medication. Most kids are unaware that this grinding is even taking place during their sleep, and it might not be noticed until it leads to wearing in the tooth enamel and bite pattern issues.
In other situations, you’ll notice bruxism in your child based on other symptoms it can create. These may include:
- Headaches or earaches
- Facial pain or aches
- Problems with the bite or the jaw in general, including jaw and tooth pain in the back molars
- Major, visible enamel loss in teeth
- Extreme increase in cavities or tooth decay issues with no other explanation
Treating bruxism often comes down to identifying its cause, which may take some time in and of itself. If you believe the cause may be related to stress or anxiety from outside sources, look for ways to decrease this, whether it’s during pre-bedtime activities or some other area. Many children do better with bruxism if they take a warm bath or relaxing shower before sleeping. If your child’s bruxism takes place over a period of years and is constant, however, your children’s dentist may prescribe a night guard to help limit the negative effects on the teeth.
For more on bruxism and how to identify and address it in your child, or to learn about any of our kids dental services, speak to the staff at Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry today.