Teeth grinding or bruxism occurs in almost 2 to 3 children out of every 10 children. Teeth grinding in kids during early childhood are common and happen in response to several factors. Some kids may grind or clench their teeth during sleeping hours while some may do it even during the day.
Causes of teeth grinding in children-
Bruxism is caused by many reasons. Some of them include-
- Stress and nervousness- Studies have found that children often grind their teeth during stressful environment. Stress and tension related to school or examinations or change in daily routine can cause worry and tension, causing kids to grind their teeth at night.
- Temperament- Any negative temper such as anger, resentment, frustration or suppressed anger and aggressiveness can cause your child to clench or grind their teeth unconsciously during sleep and sometimes during waking hours.
- Malocclusion- Teeth grinding in children can be due to abnormal teeth alignment or malocclusion. Improper alignment of upper and lower teeth can cause your child to grind or clench their teeth.
- Response to pain- Teeth grinding in kids can be a reaction to pain. Children, especially younger ones may grind or clench their teeth in response to teething or earache. They may grind their teeth to ease the pain and get some relieve.
- Medical conditions- Any medical condition such as cerebral palsy can cause your child to grind the teeth.
- Sleeping disorders- Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders can make your child struggle to breathe through normal airways causing them to bite or grind their teeth.
Symptoms of bruxism in kids include-
- Mouth breathing
- Worn down teeth
- Ear infections
- Under eye dark circles
- Enlarged adenoid and tonsils
- Hearing problems
- Bleeding gums
- Chapped lips
Effects of teeth grinding in kids-
Teeth grinding in children are not always harmful. The habit usually goes away as they grow up. Teeth grinding in children may start around the age of 3 years and stops by the time your child is age 6 or 7.
Most of the time bruxism in kids goes undetected without causing any potential harm. No such adverse effects can be seen in children unless their teeth grinding is a chronic condition. However, in case of obsessive teeth grinding there may be some effects such as headaches, earaches, jaw pains, tooth sensitivity, facial pain and worn out teeth.
What to do for teeth grinding in children?
If you notice your child grinding his teeth at night during sleep and if he complains of any jaw or facial pain or earaches or headaches, take him to a dentist to check for any fractured or broken teeth or for any wear out teeth. Check for any chances of cavities, pulp exposure or enamel damage. Dentist will be able to find out any teeth damage in your child that is caused by grinding and will be able to address it.
Teeth grinding in kids can be because of enlarged adenoid and tonsils so; an ENT specialist can help you in dealing bruxism.
In case grinding teeth in your child is severe and is causing sore jaw or teeth damage, dentist may provide your child with a mouth guard to protect the upper and bottom teeth from grinding on each other.
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