Adults are not the only ones who grind their teeth. Children may also grind their teeth.
If your child suffers from this, you probably have a lot of questions. Our team will answer some of them in this article.
About teeth grinding in children
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is an unconscious and prolonged contraction of the mandible’s elevation muscles. Teeth grinding in children can occur day or night and can be caused by psychological, muscular or occlusal factors.
According to statistics, 2 to 3 children in 10 grind their teeth and most do so without realizing it. So how can you know whether your child is actually suffering from bruxism?
You may notice the following signs:
- Grinding noises while they are sleeping
- Jaw or facial pain complaints when they wake up
- Pain when chewing
Why do children grind their teeth?
Many factors may explain why a child grinds their teeth, including:
- A dental malocclusion
- Pain caused by an earache or tooth growth, for example
- Stress or nervous tension (change in lifestyle, moving, personal conflicts, etc.).
- Hyperactivity disorders
- Certain medications
What are the consequences of teeth grinding in children?
Teeth grinding in children does not always lead to adverse effects, but it can sometimes lead to fractures, loosening or loss of teeth.
It can also lead to tooth hypersensitivity, facial pain and jaw problems such as certain temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
How to diagnose teeth grinding in children
General dentists can diagnose teeth grinding in children during an oral examination. Specifically, the dentist will be able to identify and evaluate dental damage and determine whether the cause is anatomical or psychological.
Following this examination, the dentist can recommend appropriate treatment. They may also prescribe a mouth guard, though this does not address the source of the problem.
If the cause of the teeth grinding is anatomical, the dentist may refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon. If the cause is psychological, such as stress, the stressor will need to be identified to find a way to help the child. Further evaluation may therefore be necessary.
Teeth grinding, the child and the parent
Most children grind their teeth from time to time and this does not always lead to adverse effects. But as a parent, it is important to take care of your child’s oral health.
If your child grinds their teeth, visit your dentist to get a better understanding of the problem.