Bruxism or teeth grinding is surprisingly common in children, 3 out of 10 kids have it. Most of them outgrow the condition, but in the meantime it can cause trouble in other aspects of child health. Here’s what you should know about bruxism both before your realize your kid has it and after.
What is it?
Bruxism is a condition in which you, consciously or not, grind your teeth during the night (sleep bruxism) or you clench them together during the day. Sleep bruxism is considered to be sleep- related movement disorder like restless legs syndrome (RLS). Those who have it are more likely to have other similar disorders like snoring and sleep apnea.
Causes of Bruxism?
Causes of bruxism are not sufficiently understood, and they can vary from case to case. There are theories that disturbance in sleep patterns can be the cause in younger children. Also bruxism can occur when child is experiencing pain and is too young to express it. In children above 6 usually grind their teeth as a response to stress (because this period in life is marked by change and increasing social interaction outside the family. In some cases bruxism is byproduct of hyperactivity or reaction to some common medications.
How to know your child has it?
Diagnosing bruxism can be difficult, because it’s an involuntary action and it usually happens at night. Check on your kids periodically during the night, and check their teeth during the day. You can also ask an older sibling to pay attention to grinding noises if they share a room.
If grinding continues for a longer period of time, your child will experience other more noticeable symptoms such as jaw pain, pain while chewing, increased tooth sensitivity, fractured, chipped or loose teeth and least likely worn tooth enamel (exposing deeper layers of a tooth).
It’s also a good idea to be prepared for the possibility of your kid developing bruxism during a stressful period (like moving or starting school). Talk to them about the experience, ask them if they are angry or worried about something in particular.
What if they have it?
If there are reasons to believe your kid has bruxism schedule a checkup at dental health care professional like dentist in Chatswood for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. Dentist will determine the damages caused to the tooth enamel. It’s important to convey to your dentist when did you noticed the grinding, because the longer the condition continues, the more damage it does your kids teeth. In most cases the dentist will recommend using a night guard or a mouth splint. This devices wears off if they’re used for longer periods of time and need to be changed (they usually last a year). Damage made to the teeth can be managed by using battery powered toothbrushes and toothpaste specially suited for children with bruxism.
This should also be accompanied by muscle relaxing exercise to help with jaw or chewing pain.
It’s important to note, that bruxism is not just a dental, but also a nervous condition and removing the root cause of grinding is as important as dental care. First of all you should provide a stable sleeping pattern for your kid and remove any sources of bright light from a room during the night. Relaxing bath or music before going to bed should also help.
Most of all if your kid is going through a stressful time, it should be able to confide in you, and you should provide emotional support
Bruxism is fairly common and curable condition .Once you’re sure your kid has it, tackle it from both dental and psychological perspective and everything should be fine.