As a parent, hearing your child grinding or clenching their teeth can be concerning. You may wonder if this is normal and if it’s something you need to worry about or what you can do to help them. It’s important to note that teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, is fairly common in children. In fact, about 14 to 17 percent of children grind their teeth at some point in their childhood, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what causes teeth grinding in children and give some tips on how to help them stop.
Causes of Teeth Grinding in Children
There are a few reasons why children grind their teeth. One cause could be stress or anxiety. This could be due to changes in their environment, a demanding schedule, or tensions at home or school. Addressing any factors that may be causing stress in your child’s life is essential.
Another reason for teeth grinding could be an improperly aligned bite. A general check-up with a pediatric dentist can help identify dental issues before they become a bigger problem. Other potential causes include sleep apnea, hyperactive nervous system, or a side effect of medication.
How to Help Them Stop
The first thing to do is to contact our team at Total Kids Dental. We can examine your child and give insight into what may be causing the grinding. Depending on the cause, we may suggest a mouthguard to protect the teeth while sleeping.
If stress is a factor, consider practicing relaxation techniques with your child, like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. Encourage your child to relax their jaw throughout the day, especially during stressful moments. Lastly, make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to grind their teeth.
If you suspect your child may be grinding their teeth at night unconsciously while sleeping, the AASM offers some tips to help your child sleep better:
- Ensure your child follows a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to help them get ready to go to sleep each night.
- Consider implementing a relaxing bedtime routine for your child—play soothing music or white noise.
- Instead of letting your child use the TV, computer, or video games before they go to sleep, interact with them by reading a bedtime story or asking about their day.
- Don’t allow your child to fall asleep while being held, rocked, or fed.
- Ensure your child doesn’t have any foods or drinks before bedtime that contain caffeine.
- Don’t give your child any medicine that has a stimulant before they go to sleep—this includes cough medicines and decongestants.
Pediatric Dental Services in Phoenix
If you suspect your child may be grinding their teeth, it’s essential to schedule a check-up with us. We can rule out any medical or dental issues that may be causing the grinding. Talking to us and following the tips outlined in this blog post can help stop the grinding and protect your child’s teeth. At Total Kids Dental, our pediatric dentists are equipped to handle all your child’s dental needs.
Call us today at (602) 610-0338 or visit our website to schedule your child’s check-up.