Parents sometimes notice their little ones grinding their teeth in their sleep or while stressed, or complaining of headaches. The first thought is often bruxism AKA teeth grinding. With this in mind, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss bruxism toady.

Is Bruxism Serious?

Grinding or clenching teeth subconsciously describes bruxism, and it may occur during the day, during sleep, or day and night. Before age 5, it’s estimated that 3 out of 10 children experience bruxism. Since there are a number of factors that may be at play, pinpointing the exact cause of bruxism in children can be difficult.

Common Causes of Bruxism in Children

– Teeth and/or jaw bones
– Stress from environment changes or family dynamics
– Pain, often due to earache or teething
– Medical Conditions, such as cerebral palsy
– Dehydration
– Consuming Caffeine
– Types of Medications (specifically antipsychotics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)

Concerns with Child Clenching or Grinding Teeth

As their teeth continue to develop, children will stop this habit on their own in most cases. Identifying the cause of grinding teeth is important to ensure there is not an underlying medical condition present. If you are concerned about the bruxism habits of your child, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Many children who clench their teeth or grind their jaws habitually. Your child’s dentist will work with you to identify the cause as they examine your child’s mouth. Also, Children who continue grinding their teeth when permanent teeth are developing (around age 6 or 7) should ensure the issue is brought to the attention of your child’s dentist as well.

Tips to Help Your Child Break Teeth Grinding Habits

1) Provide a teething toy for your child. Consider giving them a baby teething toy to bite down on, or a damp towel as a DIY teething toy if teething, biting down to relieve the sensation of teeth breaking through the gums, is the cause behind your child’s habit. To reduce some of the pressure, biting down on something other than the teeth can help.
2) Make sure they drink plenty of water. Clenching and grinding can be caused by dehydration and/or caffeine consumption. Each day, support your child in drinking the recommended amount of water:
– Little ones 1 to 3 years old need around 4 cups of water per day
– Kids 4 – 8 years old need approximately 5 cups of water per day
– Children older than 8 years require 7 to 8 cups of water per day
It is best to eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet. Children under 12 should not drink caffeine according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Teens (12 to 18 years old) are advised to drink no more than 100mg (about two 12 oz cans of soda) daily.
3) Offer stress management techniques to your kiddos. Developing a calming nighttime routine is key for children who clench mostly at night. To prevent blue light exposure to prevent blue light exposure, consider making a “no screens an hour before bedtime” rule. Making it more challenging to fall asleep, blue light stimulates the brain and suppresses melatonin production. You should tuck your electronics into bed at least 30 minutes before you go to bed according to the National Sleep Foundation. To help them relax, try reading with your child before bedtime, doing some deep breathing or yoga, or taking a warm bath.

Pediatric Dentistry

If you have concerns about your kids’ bruxism in Las Vegas, NV and surrounding areas, call the professionals of Smile Reef for an appointment.