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Does Your Kid Grind Their Teeth at Night?

If so, then you might have wondered how it is possible that such a small person can make so much noise. Teeth grinding, and clenching can sound awful, but in fact, this nocturnal habit is relatively common in young children. It is estimated two or three out of every ten children will grind their teeth and the medical term for this condition is bruxism. The good news is that most will eventually outgrow the habit without needing any treatment, but in the meantime, it is essential to ensure the habit isn’t causing damage to their teeth and jaws.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?
It isn’t exactly known why some children will grind their teeth, but one possible reason is misaligned teeth. Some children will grind because they are stressed or anxious, or because they are in pain. Another possible cause is hyperactivity, a reaction to medications, or cerebral palsy. The pressure caused by bruxism can be considerable and might lead to headaches, facial pain, earaches, or jaw problems. Not surprisingly, bruxism can also chip or wear down teeth. If you think your child might have bruxism, then it is vital to find out by visiting your dentist in Whitby.

Finding Out if Your Child Has Bruxism
Because bruxism tends to be a nocturnal habit, most children will not realize they are grinding their teeth at night. You will need to listen to them while they sleep to discover if they are making grinding noises. Also, if your child complains about jaw pain, then they may have bruxism. If your child is particularly anxious or worried about anything, then these emotions could be causing their teeth grinding. When anxiety is a possible cause, it can help to work with your kid to relieve their anxiety, perhaps by making sure they have a warm, soothing bath before bedtime, letting them listen to relaxing music or taking them on a nice long walk.

Possible Side Effects of Bruxism
Although most children will outgrow bruxism without any treatment, it can cause difficulties for them while it lasts. Teeth grinding, and clenching can damage tooth enamel, and over time it could wear down your child’s teeth, exposing the softer layer of dentin that lies just underneath. Dentin is more easily eroded, and its exposure can cause tooth sensitivity. Additionally, bruxism in Oshawa is actually a sleep disorder because it disrupts deeper sleep that is needed for the body to rest and recover. When sleep is disrupted, it can be hard emotionally and can affect the body and brain. When a child doesn’t receive sufficient good quality sleep, it could cause behavioural problems, and clinical studies have found associations between bruxism and stress, anxiety and depression. Having to deal with headaches or an earache, or jaw pain can really take its toll and may negatively impact a child’s quality of life.

What to Do
Our dentist in Ajax can gently examine your child’s teeth and jaws for any signs of teeth grinding. A dental exam will also determine if the grinding is causing any damage. Any damage that is being caused to their teeth can be reduced with a special night guard which is a custom device made to fit specifically over your child’s teeth. When bruxism isn’t causing any damage to the teeth, it may be better to wait because most children will outgrow bruxism naturally. If we think the bruxism is due to any dental problems such as malocclusion, then we can recommend suitable treatment.


Jul 13, 2018 | Posted by
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