Child bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common habit among children and is usually first realized by parents who hear a strange noise from their child’s room after bedtime. Most parents are surprised when they realize the noise is coming from their child’s teeth grinding. It can be a loud gritting sound that echoes through the house while everyone else is trying to sleep. The most common age for bruxism in children is under eleven, and it is considered normal behavior. However, when bruxism causes severe tooth pain, wear and trouble sleeping then it is something that needs to addressed and not brushed aside as just a phase.

Excessive Teeth Grinding

Just like nail and cheek biting, teeth grinding can become a habit that requires no conscious effort. If the child is aware of the problem, they can effectively stop the bruxism throughout the day, but at night, it is impossible for them to consciously quit teeth grinding in their sleep. Bruxism can start as early as one year old when teeth have begun to grow in a child’s mouth. Bruxism is also more prevalent in children who snore during their sleep and children who breathe through their mouths while sleeping rather than their nose.

Dental Effects of Bruxism

Teeth that are worn down and damaged due to teeth grinding are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. If your child’s teeth have been considerably worn down, their nerve endings could be easily exposed to feel more pain and more sensitivity in their teeth. If your child is complaining from tooth pain, foods being too cold or too hot, this could be a result of bruxism, especially if you notice that their teeth are worn down. Soreness of the jaw is also an indication that your child may be struggling with bruxism.

Tips to Help Stop Bruxism

If not tended to promptly, child bruxism can lead to tooth fracture, tooth loosening and even loss of teeth. There are a few tips that will help your child to stop grinding his or her teeth. Try to decrease your child’s stress levels before bed time. Bruxism is often correlated with stress and even if your child is asleep, they will still feel the effects of anything that may be causing them stress. Try stretching exercises to relieve stress. Make sure that your child’s diet includes a healthy amount of water. Dehydration is also another common cause of bruxism. Older children may need temporary crowns to help with bruxism and in some cases a night guard is worn by a child to help protect their teeth. If you suspect that your child has a problem with teeth grinding, come in to Smile Reef for a checkup and we will assist you in protecting your child’s teeth and keeping them healthy and strong.