If you’ve got a sneaking suspicion your child is grinding their teeth at night, you’re probably right. It’s common for children to grind their teeth while they sleep and it’s important to catch it early on and prevent any damage it may cause. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry explains bruxism and how you can protect your child’s smile from its effects.

What is Bruxism?

You may have been looking into teeth grinding and come across the term bruxism. This is the medical term for teeth grinding, and means children with this condition clench their jaws and their teeth grind against each other throughout the night while they sleep. Bruxism is very common in both children and adults.

Signs of Teeth Grinding

There are a few effects of teeth grinding that you may have noticed your child exhibiting, including:

  • Waking with a sore jaw
  • Waking up fatigued
  • Popping or clicking jaw sounds through the day
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Chipped, cracked, worn, or sensitive teeth

You may even experience a sibling who shares a room complain of hearing grinding noises throughout the night.

When your child grinds their teeth through the night, they wear down the enamel and overall shape of their teeth. The grating motion can cause severe dental damage if not stopped or prevented. Teeth grinding can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This joint allows our jaws to move up and down, back and forth, and side to side.

Boy holding up model of teeth in need of a mouth guard.

Prevention of Teeth Grinding

Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry wants to help your child stop grinding their teeth before it causes irreversible damage. While there is no exact cause to explain why children and adults grind their teeth, it’s known that it most likely related to stress and anxiety. Your child may be experiencing bruxism because they are stressed out, anxious, nervous, or scared. Our pediatric dentistry in Charlotte recommends creating a calmer, more relaxed environment throughout the day and before bed to reduce the chances of teeth grinding. It’s also suggested to promote healthier food choices and more exercise into their daily routines.

Is a Night Guard the Next Step?

If you believe your child is in need of a night guard to help stop teeth grinding at night, consult your pediatric dentist. While store-bought, boil-to-mold bite guards may be a cheap, easy solution for adults – this will not be so for a child. It is best to have a custom night guard made at your pediatric dentist’s office. Custom night guards are designed to fit your child’s individual teeth and mouth perfectly with impressions taken in the office. Custom night guards from Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry are designed to be durable enough to protect your child’s smile, as well as comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep.

For more questions about teeth grinding or getting a night guard for your child, contact Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry.