Teeth Grinding and Your Child

Kid Friendly Dentist Miami Beach, FL

While many adults may struggle with teeth grinding from time to time, the condition can also be prevalent among younger children. In fact, the habit of grinding one's teeth, or bruxism, is a relatively common practice among children whose baby and permanent teeth are still growing in. It can be comforting and even offer relief from irritation for some, while others may develop the practice as a result of high levels of stress or anxiety. Misaligned or missing teeth may also cause bouts of bruxism in children. While occasional teeth grinding is usually harmless, chronic grinding should be addressed to help determine underlying causes and prevent pain, breaks and even tooth loss.

Signs a child may be grinding their teeth

The most obvious indication of bruxism is the grating or grinding sound that accompanies the action. Teeth grinding usually occurs at night during sleep, so a parent may need to use a monitor to check for the telling sounds. Another sign of teeth grinding is soreness in the teeth or jaw. If a child complains of pain with no signs of a cavity, bruxism may be to blame. Parents should also take note of the shape of a child's teeth and bite. If the tips of the teeth are wearing down to an even or straight line, the child likely has a severe habit of teeth grinding.

How to address teeth grinding in children

If a parent suspects that a child is developing an unhealthy tendency of grinding their teeth, it is critical to address the issue with careful intention. There are several methods to help break the habit and treat side effects in order to protect a child's oral health.

Prevention and healthy practices

Because bruxism is sometimes the result of anxiety, it can be beneficial to create a relaxing environment for the child, especially before bedtime. A calming nighttime routine with a warm bath, soft music or ambient lighting can help promote relaxation and reduce teeth grinding during sleep. If a child is noticeably fearful and anxious during the day, parents may need to seek the advice of a pediatrician to pursue a psychological evaluation.

Parents should avoid punishment to break the pattern. Instead, most professionals recommend an abundance of praise when a child abstains from teeth grinding. Offering healthy alternatives to handle anxiety or discomfort can also help stop the cycle.

Dental treatment and home care

If children complain of frequent discomfort or parents notice changes to the shape of the teeth, a dentist should be seen for evaluation and treatment. Depending on the situation, a dental professional may recommend the following:

  • A mouth guard for nighttime use
  • Massages and stretches to relieve tension
  • Dental procedures, such as crowns, to improve bite formation or alignment

Parents should also help children break other unhealthy chewing habits at home.

Conclusion

Teeth grinding is a relatively common tendency among young children. However, if the practice becomes frequent and leads to pain or changes in the teeth, parents should seek care and treatment from a dentist. With proper care and healthy practices, the habit can be broken to improve the child's oral health.

Request an appointment here: https://dentistmiamibeachfl.com or call Miami Beach Smiles for an appointment in our Miami Beach office.

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