You’ve heard of cavities and tooth decay, but there’s a more subtle oral health ailment afflicting nearly 30% of children today – bruxism. Here’s what parents need to know about the problem, and how they can help their children beat it.
Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.
Bruxism can be caused by a number of external factors, including stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and reaction to medication. Some children grind their teeth to relieve anxiety, and most are often unaware of it until the next morning.
Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems. Continual teeth-grinding can also lead to tooth enamel loss, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. Those suffering from bruxism will often report jaw and tooth pain, particularly in the back molar area.
Since the root of bruxism is varied, it can be hard to locate the exact cause. If your child is particularly stressed or anxious, try to decrease their stress right before bed by doing some stretching, or yoga. Or, encourage them to take a relaxing shower, or hot bath to help them ease into bedtime.
If your child’s teeth-grinding is ongoing, then their dentist may prescribe a night guard to protect their teeth and mouth. A night guard helps ease the pain of tooth grinding, and protects tooth enamel from being worn away.
If you’re concerned that your child has bruxism, then visit our office. A trained dentist will evaluate your child’s mouth to determine if they suffer from bruxism, and provide a treatment plan based upon their findings. Untreated bruxism can harm your child’s oral health, and cause them to lose sleep, and negatively affect their performance at school.