Does your child grind their teeth? If so, they are not alone. This issue is surprisingly common in children. In fact, one study of 854 pediatric dental patients found that 38 percent of them grinded their teeth either in the daytime or at night. As a parent, here’s what you need to know from a pediatric dentist.

 

Teeth Grinding Can Happen at Anytime

The medical term for teeth grinding is Bruxism. This refers to both teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If it happens while your child is sleeping, you will be able to hear the sounds. It sounds like the teeth are moving back and forth against each other.

During waking hours, you may notice that your child clenches their jaw. They may do this while doing homework, watching TV, or during other activities. This can happen in toddlers, grade school age children, and teens.

 

Misalignment Can Lead to Grinding

According to most pediatric dentists, a lot of teeth grinding occurs because the child’s mouth is not in right alignment. The upper and lower jaws don’t match together perfectly when they bite down. This can lead to pain.

Your child may only be slightly aware of the pain, but to remedy the issue, their jaw muscles naturally starts to grind. This is similar to how you rub a sore muscle without really even thinking about it. In these situations, you may want to consult with a pediatric dentist in Cobb. They can give you advice on treatment options or possibly refer you to an orthodontist if needed.

 

Stress and Teeth Grinding

In other cases, children grind their teeth because of stress. If you know that there’s a lot going on in your child’s life or if you see them clenching their jaw during stressful activities, you may want to  take steps to lessen their load.

Can they drop out of an activity? Take easier classes? Switch teachers or make other changes? If not, you may want to work with them on stress reduction activities such as meditation or doing things that relax them like going to the swimming pool or watching a movie.

 

Teeth Grinding Can Lead to Other Issues

If your child is grinding their teeth, don’t just assume they will grow out of it. Ideally, you should mention the issue to your pediatric dentist in Cobb, and you should look for solutions.

Unfortunately, if you ignore the issue, it can progress to a more serious issue. For instance, your child’s grinding may evolve into a temporomandibular disorder such as TMJ. That can lead to more pain, more stress, and more grinding.

On top of that, grinding your teeth together can wear down the enamel. That can lead to more cavities. The presence of cavities in the mouth can lead to more cavities if the decay spreads. It can also lead to gum issues. That’s why it’s critical to deal with the teeth grinding before it turns into even more issues.

If your child is grinding their teeth, contact us at Nia Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics today. We treat both kids and teens, and your child will love our fun office. We’ve got fun stuff for the little kids, a smile booth for teens who love their apps, and the experience and services parents expect.