All parents want to know that their kids peacefully sleeping at night, smiling in their sweet dreams. But some parents instead of easy breathing of their children hear the harsh sounds of gnashing and grinding teeth. It is not a rare condition. Expert say that 2 to 3 kids out of ten have teeth grinding or bruxism, which is the medical term for grinding teeth.
The specialists say that it’s not clear why some kids have bruxism, but
most common causes are:
- Misaligned teeth, when top and bottom teeth are not aligned properly
- Earache or teething. In this case grinding – is a way to easy the pain
- Stress and anxiety, tension or anger
- Hyperactivity, cerebral palsy
- Nutritional deficiencies, pinworm, allergies, endocrine disorders
- Reaction to the medication
Most of the kids who grind their teeth are not aware about it. Usually it’s their siblings or parents who notice the problem. The symptoms you should be looking for:
- Grinding noises when your child is sleeping
- Complaints of a sore jaw or face after waking up in the morning
- Pain with chewing
- Headaches, earaches, facial pain.
In some cases, 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).
What to do if your child is grinding their teeth?
Specific tips to help a child stop grinding his or her teeth include:
- Decrease your child’s stress, especially just before bed:
- Taking a warm bath
- Listening to soothing music
- Reading a book
- Telling your child stories and singing lullabies
- Try massage and stretching exercises to relax the muscles.
- Make your child’s bedroom feel peaceful.
- Keep the lights dim.
- Keep the temperature down.
- Make sure your child’s bed is comfortable.
- Make sure your child’s diet includes plenty of water. Dehydration may be linked to teeth grinding.
- Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
- Do not let chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid giving kids chewing gum as it allows their jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes them more likely to grind your teeth.
- If you notice that your child clench or grind during the day, explain that they should position the tip of their tongue between their teeth. This practice trains jaw muscles to relax.
- Relax their jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against cheek in front of earlobe.
- Ask your dentist to monitor your child’s teeth if he or she is a grinder.
If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, schedule a dental appointment at Kids Pediatrics Dentistry for a proper diagnosis. Dr. Lisi will examine the teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear, and spray air and water to for unusual sensitivity. Older kids may need temporary crowns or other methods, such as a night guard, to prevent the grinding. Give Dr. Lisi a call, and help our child to stay “grinding free”!