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How do I know if my child has bruxism?

First off, bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. Bruxism is fairly common in children with upwards of one in five children under the age of eleven reporting to have sleep bruxism. Bruxism in children can be due to poorly aligned top and bottom teeth and jaw placement, some may do it as a response to pain from an earache or teething (think rubbing a sore muscle). Many kids outgrow these common causes of bruxism when they lose their baby teeth.

Bruxism can be a serious problem for children’s dental and sleep health. The grinding motion of the teeth can erode the enamel of their teeth and lead to other more serious dental and behavioral health issues. 

Some kids who are hyperactive or have other medical conditions ( such as cerebral palsy) or who take certain medications can develop bruxism.

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What to do if your child is teeth grinding

If your child has a sore mouth or headaches from grinding his teeth, here are some helpful tips:

  • Look for the source: Stress can make kids grind their teeth at night, whether it’s thinking about upcoming exams or a problem with a teacher or the playground bully. Talk to your child to find out what’s bothering them. 
  • Rely on relaxation: Help your child develop a relaxing pre-bedtime routine. 
  • See the dentist: Your child’s dentist can determine if the bruxism is affecting their teeth. A specially fitted mouthguard may be necessary.

Signs that your child has bruxism

It can be difficult to determine if your child has bruxism because oftentimes your child doesn’t even realize they’re grinding their teeth. 

One way you can check to see if your child is grinding their teeth while they sleep is to check in on them at night when they’re sleeping to hear if they’re making grinding noises. 

One other sign that your child is grinding their teeth at night may be that they’re complaining of jaw pain, soreness or pain while chewing, or frequent headaches. 

What a child with bruxism may experience- wearing down of tooth enamel, chipped teeth, temperature-sensitive teeth and facial or jaw pain, headaches upon waking

Schedule an appointment with our team to talk about your child’s teeth grinding.

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