Bruxism In Children: Frequently Asked Questions

Dentist Blog

As a parent, you understand the importance of maintaining your child's oral health. This is why you make sure your child brushes twice a day, flosses, and stays away from sugary snacks. However, if your child is grinding their teeth, despite your best efforts, your child can suffer from serious tooth damage. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about teeth grinding, or bruxism, in children. 

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, clenching, or tapping, is a common condition in children. There are several potential causes of bruxism in children, including:

  • Misaligned teeth. If your child's teeth do not line up properly, it can cause discomfort that can lead to teeth grinding.
  • Tooth pain. If a tooth is erupting or your child has a broken tooth or tooth decay, bruxism is common.
  • Certain medical conditions. Ear infections, tonsilitis, cerebral palsy, and attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, are causes of bruxism.

The use of certain medications can also lead to teeth grinding, including certain types of asthma medications and medications to treat anxiety and depression.

What Are the Signs of Bruxism?

In addition to actually seeing your child grinding, clenching, or tapping their teeth, there are several other signs your child might have bruxism. For example, children with bruxism will often complain of having a sore jaw, headaches, and earaches.

Your child might complain when they are eating or drinking something that is hot or cold. This sensitivity to heat and cold can occur from the enamel on your child's teeth being worn down by the constant grinding. Often, your child will only grind their teeth in their sleep. In addition to the other causes of bruxism, teeth grinding can sometimes occur when your child enters a deeper stage of sleep.

If you notice any of the other symptoms of tooth grinding, check on your child while they are sleeping, as it is most common for your child to grind their teeth in their sleep.

How Can I Help My Child Stop Grinding Their Teeth?

If you suspect your child has bruxism, talk to your dentist right away. Your dentist will perform an oral exam and ask several questions about your child to determine if teeth grinding is an issue. If your child is diagnosed with bruxism, there are ways you can help. For example, if medication is the cause, you and your doctor can try switching your child to a different prescription.

Wearing a mouthguard at night or getting your child fitted for braces, if your child's misaligned teeth is the culprit, are other ways to prevent tooth damage from bruxism.

Bruxism is a common condition that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Contact your pediatric dentist with any other questions or if you suspect your child has bruxism.

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28 February 2022