Have you noticed your child grinds their teeth? Also known as bruxism, this behavior is not uncommon for children. In fact, bruxism is one of the most common sleep disorders. While some may believe that teeth grinding in children stems from anxiety or emotional distress, most pediatric dentists suspect it is due to pain a child may be experiencing, i.e. teething, ear infection, or misalignment of teeth. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry explains what parents need to know about this habit.
Effects of teeth grinding
Most children stop grinding their teeth around age six, however, some continue to grind in their teenage years. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, 38 percent of parents reported that their children under the age of 17 grind their teeth. If the habit persists into their teens, teeth can start to wear, chip, or become misaligned. Teeth grinding can also lead to temperature sensitivities, earaches, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). These issues require extensive dental and orthodontic work to repair.
How to stop your child from grinding their teeth
While teeth grinding has not been linked to stress and anxiousness in children, these could be teeth grinding triggers for teens. Students in middle school or high school under academic stress, may grind their teeth at night. If this is the case, Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry suggests a few techniques to help them calm down before going to bed:
- take a warm bath or shower.
- read a book
- listen to calming music or white noise
- practice deep breathing techniques or yoga poses
To avoid any problems that result from teeth grinding, consult your Charlotte pediatric dentist about your child being fitted for a nighttime mouth guard. These custom mouthguards protect your child’s teeth from the grinding while they sleep.