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05Nov
2014
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Childhood Bruxism and Kids Teeth Development

Childhood Bruxism and Kids Teeth Development

Parents often sneak a peek at their sleeping child just to make sure all is well, and usually expect to hear nothing more than perhaps the occasional breath, quiet snore or sigh. But what happens when you hear the sounds of grinding or gnashing teeth? This is a habit called bruxism, and is where someone grinds or clenches their teeth, usually during sleep. Quite a few adults have bruxism, and it can often be stress related, but it also affects around two out of three children, and it can be alarming to hear. Luckily, the good news is that most will outgrow this habit without any sort of intervention.

Causes Childhood Bruxism

There have been lot of studies into this condition, but no-one is really sure as to why it occurs. Sometimes childhood bruxism can develop due to problems with misaligned teeth. Other can grind to help reduce the pain of kids teeth development, or even when they have an earache or infection as it can ease the discomfort.

Another reason why kids grind can be down to stress, anger or some other tension. For example they might be worried about school, and even an argument with parents or siblings can sometimes be enough to trigger it. It’s also not uncommon for children who are hyperactive to clench and grind. Some children with certain medical conditions, for example kids with cerebral palsy or who are on particular medications can develop bruxism.

What Are the Effects of Bruxism on Kids Teeth Development?

Quite a few cases of bruxism won’t cause any ill-effects, and will go undetected, but this condition can cause headaches or earache. It can also be annoying for other family members to hear. However sometimes bruxism can lead to tooth enamel becoming chipped or broken, increasing the chances of tooth sensitivity. It might also cause problems with the jaw joints that move the lower jaw, which are called the temporomandibular joints, but this only usually happens if the grinding is chronic.

How Can I Tell If My Kid Has Bruxism?

Sometimes children with bruxism will complain about waking up with headaches or of facial pain, or you’ll hear them grinding while they sleep. If you think your child has bruxism then book an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists for a checkup of kids teeth development and a full diagnosis.  We can examine your child’s teeth and jaws to determine if they have any problems with malocclusion, and will check for any signs of wear and tear on their teeth and whole kids teeth development, that could be caused by bruxism.

If they do have bruxism, it is important to work out if it is caused by some kind of physical factor, for example a problem with their bite, or if it is down to stress as this will affect their treatment plan. We can correct their bite, if this is an issue, and can also supply a custom-made night guard to help protect their teeth. This looks very similar to a sports mouthguard and can be very effective. If their bruxism is down to psychological reasons or stress, then you can help them through taking action to relax them before bedtime. This might mean running them a warm, soothing bath, or reading a book, or even listening to music. Try to find out why they are feeling stressed, and see if you can help remove some of the factors causing this problem. The good news is that most children will outgrow bruxism by the time they reach adolescence.

 

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Dr. Marina Krepkh
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Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge)
(718) 491-5300

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