Bruxism in Children: What to Do for Kids Who Grind Their Teeth

Is your child grinding their teeth? If so, then it might be time to take them to the dentist.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can significantly damage your child’s teeth if left untreated. The disorder can be difficult to detect, since teeth grinding in children most commonly occurs at night.

In this article, the maxillofacial surgeons at Clinique Evoro explain the causes of teeth grinding in children, what symptoms to look for and how it can be treated.

The symptoms of teeth grinding in children

Bruxism, or grinding, is when the jaw muscles move unconsciously, causing friction between the teeth. Although it may happen during the day, teeth grinding in children more commonly occurs at night.

Oral health professionals estimate that bruxism occurs in around 11% of children between 3 and 7 years of age, 6% of those aged 8 to 12 and 2% of adolescents.

Did you know? Late adolescence is also when wisdom teeth begin to emerge! Consider taking your teen to the dentist for a checkup to see whether they need their wisdom teeth removed 😊

Children with chronic bruxism may experience the following symptoms:

  • Tooth or jaw pain, particularly in the morning
  • Headaches
  • Pain around the face or temples, particularly in the morning
  • Premature tooth wear
  • Earaches
  • Teeth that are hypersensitive to hot, cold or acidic food
  • Teeth that seem cracked or loose

If you hear your child grinding their teeth or complaining of pain, it’s important to make an appointment with a dentist or maxillofacial specialist.

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    Why is my child grinding their teeth?

    Teeth grinding in children is usually a habit fuelled by a state of emotional tension or stress. However, it can also be caused by other factors, such as:

    • Jaw misalignment that leads to dental malocclusion
    • A severe head injury
    • Intestinal parasites
    • In rare cases, bruxism can be a side-effect of some types of medication

    It’s important for a dentist to identify the underlying cause of the child’s bruxism and develop a treatment plan in order to protect the teeth from further damage.

    If your child is complaining of severe pain, contact an emergency dental service directly.

    Note: Sleep bruxism in children can be easily identified by the loud, unpleasant noise they make in their sleep.

    Treating bruxism in children

    Once a health professional has confirmed that your child grinds their teeth, you can begin to consider treatment options. There are several different treatment methods available, including the following:

    • Orthodontic treatment to correct the position of the jaw
    • Wearing a bite guard to protect the teeth from premature wear
    • Establishing a sleep routine that includes relaxation techniques
    • If your child grinds their teeth during the day, your dentist can recommend exercises to consciously relax the jaw

    Bruxism tends to fade or disappear naturally as children approach adolescence. However, if you notice signs of teeth grinding in your child, we recommend discussing it with a dental professional as soon as possible. An expert will be able to carefully monitor how the condition is affecting the child’s mouth.

    Pediatric bruxism treatment available at Clinique Evoro

    As every parent knows, a child’s teeth are delicate and require special care.

    Bruxism can seriously damage a child’s teeth. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your child for symptoms of the condition and contact an oral health care professional if you suspect that something is wrong. If you are looking for a specialist in the Gatineau area to examine your child’s teeth, contact Clinique Evoro. Our dental surgeons are here to answer your questions and protect your child’s oral health.