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Children's Health: Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching)




Children's Health: Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching)


When you look in on your sleeping child, you want to hear the sounds of sweet dreams: easy breathing and perhaps an occasional sigh. But some parents hear the harsher sounds of gnashing and grinding teeth, called bruxism, which is common in kids.

About Bruxism
Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws. Bruxism often occurs during deep sleep or while under stress. Two to three out of every 10 kids will grind or clench, experts say, but most outgrow it.

Causes of Bruxism


Though studies have been done, no one knows why bruxism happens. But in some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren't aligned properly. Others do it as a response to pain, such as an earache or teething. Kids might grind their teeth as a way to ease the pain, just as they might rub a sore muscle. Many kids outgrow these fairly common causes for grinding.

Stress — usually nervous tension or anger — is another cause. For instance, a child might worry about a test at school or a change in routine (a new sibling or a new teacher). Even arguing with parents and siblings can cause enough stress to prompt teeth grinding or jaw clenching.

Some kids who are hyperactive also experience bruxism. And sometimes kids with other medical conditions (such as cerebral palsy) or on certain medications can develop bruxism.

Effects of Bruxism
Many cases of bruxism go undetected with no adverse effects, while others cause headaches or earaches. Usually, though, it's more bothersome to other family members because of the grinding sound.

In some circumstances, nighttime grinding and clenching can wear down tooth enamel, chip teeth, increase temperature sensitivity, and cause severe facial pain and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ). Most kids who grind, however, do not have TMJ problems unless their grinding and clenching is chronic.

Diagnosing Bruxism
Lots of kids who grind their teeth aren't even aware of it, so it's often siblings or parents who identify the problem.

Some signs to watch for:

grinding noises when your child is sleeping
complaints of a sore jaw or face in the morning
pain with chewing
If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, visit the dentist, who will examine the teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear, and spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity.

If damage is detected, the dentist may ask your child a few questions, such as:

How do you feel before bed?
Are you worried about anything at home or school?
Are you angry with someone?
What do you do before bed?
The exam will help the dentist determine whether the grinding is caused by anatomical (misaligned teeth) or psychological (stress) factors and come up with an effective treatment plan.

Treating Bruxism
Most kids outgrow bruxism, but a combination of parental observation and dental visits can help keep the problem in check until they do.

In cases where the grinding and clenching make a child's face and jaw sore or damage the teeth, dentists may prescribe a special night guard. Molded to a child's teeth, the night guard is similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by football players. Though a mouthpiece may take some getting used to, positive results happen quickly.

Helping Kids With Bruxism
Whether the cause is physical or psychological, kids might be able to control bruxism by relaxing before bedtime — for example, by taking a warm bath or shower, listening to a few minutes of soothing music, or reading a book.

For bruxism that's caused by stress, ask about what's upsetting your child and find a way to help. For example, a kid who is worried about being away from home for a first camping trip might need reassurance that mom or dad will be nearby if anything happens.

If the issue is more complicated, such as moving to a new town, discuss your child's concerns and try to ease any fears. If you're concerned, talk to your doctor.

In rare cases, basic stress relievers aren't enough to stop bruxism. If your child has trouble sleeping or is acting differently than usual, your dentist or doctor may suggest further evaluation. This can help determine the cause of the stress and an appropriate course of treatment.

How Long Does Bruxism Last?
Childhood bruxism is usually outgrown by adolescence. Most kids stop grinding when they lose their baby teeth. However, a few kids do continue to grind into adolescence. And if the bruxism is caused by stress, it will continue until the stress is relieved.

Preventing Bruxism
Because some bruxism is a child's natural reaction to growth and development, most cases can't be prevented. Stress-induced bruxism can be avoided, however, by talking with kids regularly about their feelings and helping them deal with stress. Take your child for routine dental visits to find and, if needed, treat bruxism.

Reviewed by: Kenneth H. Hirsch, DDS


Responses

4 Respones to "Children's Health: Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching)"

simi kaur said...

Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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August 9, 2014 at 12:45 AM
ashlie jon said...

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September 18, 2014 at 4:28 AM
Lisa John said...

This is actually common and many kids have been observed doing this. It is very necessary that you take your kid to a good dental clinic to get permanent solution. You can browse through info on dental clinics and also can refer reviews shared by their patients in order to choose the best one for your child.


August 20, 2015 at 11:32 PM
Ricky Jurk said...

For some of the best Teeth Grinding Solution there are many advancements and technologies seen coming up in the market which has helped individuals fix the problem. For getting some of the prevents teeth clenching away remember to get such things done or completed by the ones who are expert in the field of dental science.


January 19, 2016 at 10:36 PM

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