What Causes Bruxism in Children?

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Bruxism in children, commonly known as teeth grinding, is a dental condition that can cause a range of problems for kids. This involuntary habit involves clenching and grinding the teeth, usually during sleep. It is important for parents to understand the causes of bruxism in children and how it can be treated to help prevent any lasting damage to the teeth or jaw.

The team at Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates in Lancaster, PA is here to help parents understand the causes, consequences, and solutions for teeth grinding in children.

Keep reading to see if your child requires specialized pediatric dentistry for bruxism.

What causes bruxism in children?

Treating teeth grinding in kids requires identifying the causes. Bruxism may start when children are teething, losing baby teeth, or growing adult teeth. A misaligned bite can also cause children to inadvertently grind their teeth to find relief.

One of the most common causes of bruxism in children is stress. Kids who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or emotional turmoil may develop the habit of teeth grinding as a coping mechanism.

Sleep bruxism is another common cause of teeth grinding in kids. This form of bruxism involves involuntary muscle contractions during sleep, which can cause the teeth to clench and grind together.

Bruxism in children can sometimes be a side effect of certain medications or medical conditions. For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be more likely to develop bruxism as a side effect of stimulant medications. Other medical conditions that can contribute to teeth grinding in children include sleep apnea, allergies, and ear infections.

What are the risks of teeth grinding in kids?

Severe bruxism can cause a range of symptoms in children, including:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Tooth pain
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Jaw pain

Bruxism can also affect the development of the jaw in children. The constant clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause the jaw muscles to become overworked, leading to inflammation and pain. This can cause the jaw to become misaligned, leading to more severe symptoms like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

How do pediatric dentists treat bruxism in children?

There are several treatment options available for children with bruxism. One common treatment is the use of a night guard, a customized dental appliance that is worn during sleep to prevent teeth grinding. Night guards can help reduce the symptoms of bruxism and prevent damage to the teeth and jaw. In some cases, behavioral therapy may be recommended to help children cope with stress and reduce the frequency of teeth grinding.

Regular dental checkups are important for children with bruxism. This allows pediatric dentists to monitor the condition and provide appropriate and customized treatment options for each child based on the underlying causes.

How can parents help a child with teeth grinding?

While bruxism in children is common, it can cause a range of symptoms and consequences that affect their long-term oral health. It is vital for parents to understand the causes of bruxism in children and seek appropriate treatment to help prevent any lasting damage to the teeth or jaw.

Parents can also take steps to prevent bruxism in their children by promoting good sleep habits, reducing stress and anxiety, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Get treatment for bruxism in children in Lancaster, PA

With the right care and attention, children with bruxism can enjoy healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for years to come. If you're concerned about your child's teeth grinding, the team at Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates is ready to help assess the situation and recommend treatment options.

To get started, request an appointment for your child at our office in Lancaster, PA today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.