Nighttime teeth grinding can take a while to detect. Depending on the severity and frequency, your child might not even realize it’s happening.
And while nIghttime teeth grinding might seem like less of an oral health issue than cavities, for example, it can cause wear and tear on your child’s teeth and lead to additional oral health problems.
At Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics, our dentists Nathalie Phaeton, DDS, and Ki Youn Kil, DDS, offer pediatric dentistry and orthodontic services at our office in Falls Church, Virginia. In this blog, they explain the signs of teeth grinding and how you can help them stop doing it.
Teeth grinding or clenching (also known as bruxism) is pretty common in children. It’s estimated that anywhere from 13-49% of children experience bruxism at some point. Common factors that can contribute to nighttime teeth grinding are stress, anxiety, bite misalignments, and hyperactivity.
Some children don’t have noticeable symptoms of bruxism and may not even know that they’re grinding their teeth while they sleep. However, teeth grinding can cause a number of symptoms and conditions, such as the following:
If you notice any of these issues, or if you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, schedule an appointment for a dental exam.
If your child grinds their teeth, there are some steps you can take to help them stop.
Consuming sugar and caffeine, especially close to bed time, may make your child feel agitated and disrupt their sleep. So don’t let them consume any of these substances too close to bed time.
Young children are as vulnerable to stress and anxiety as adults, and it can disrupt their mental and physical health in some of the same ways. Encourage your child to talk about their stress and fears, and help them find healthy coping mechanisms and relaxation practices, especially before bed time.
Going through facial exercises with them and applying warm compresses to their jaws may also help to relax their jaw muscles and ease tightness and pain.
A night guard is a removable appliance that your child wears while they sleep to protect their teeth from nighttime grinding. A night guard is custom designed from an impression of your child’s teeth, and it keeps their top arch of teeth from grinding on their lower arch.
If you know your child grinds their teeth — or even if you're unsure — the best thing you can do is bring them in for a dental exam. A dental exam is the only way to find out for sure what’s going on and what the right treatment should be.
If you want your child examined for teeth grinding, or if your child needs any other dental care, call 703-483-9933 or book an appointment online with Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics today.