It’s not at all uncommon for children to grind their teeth, particularly during the night. Upwards of 20% of children have the habit at some point in their childhood. Parents may notice their kids making grinding noises or movements when sleeping. Dentists call this bruxism.
It can become a dental concern if your child doesn’t outgrow it and it wears too much on the enamel of permanent teeth.
The Nightly Grind: It’s Often a Passing Phase
Some children have misaligned baby teeth that cause them to press against their bite. Once the permanent teeth grow in, the issue may gradually disappear.
In young children, it’s a good idea to tell your pediatrician about bruxism in case it’s related to any condition that could be causing your child discomfort. Sometimes, a child with bruxism is processing anxiety or responding to medications. Kids do experience anxiety; we all likely remember our own. A warm bath, a bedtime story, a recording of rain or waves, or comforting bedtime music can all go a long way to reduce stress. Some children want to read a bit when going to sleep; others are helped by a nightlight.
Grinding the teeth for too long can cause earaches, headaches or jaw problems, so it’s vital to take note and seek the underlying reasons, even if it does not become a dental issue. And if your child complains about jaw pain or pain when chewing, let your dentist know.
Kids at the Dentist: It’s Good to Be Seen
It makes perfect sense to make a dental appointment and diagnose the problem your child is experiencing. Your dentist can examine your child’s mouth and teeth and check for underlying concerns. And there are ways to make your child more comfortable, and to offer your child brushing or relaxation tips that support overall health.
Some kids need to follow the lead of hockey players and get their own custom mouthguards to wear during sleep. Today’s mouthguards are flexible and comfortable. They stop grinding and the aches that can follow.
Parents should know that all children, from babyhood through adolescence, have an ever-changing and diverse set of mental and physical needs. Regular dental checkups and the early adoption of good oral hygiene practices are good for your child’s overall health. Learning about good dental care now will serve your child well over a lifetime.
Positive Connections with Dental Care Help Create Self-Confidence
At Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to ensure that your child’s dental visits are comfortable and educational. Our office plays an important role in creating positive associations with good oral health for your child and reducing potential future anxiety about going to the dentist. We take that seriously, and we have fun, too.
If you’re concerned about teeth grinding or any other issues involving your child’s teeth, you’re invited to make an appointment with us at your convenience. To start dental care for your child in a kid-friendly office, or to schedule a checkup, call us at 281-292-4242.