What You Need to Know About Bruxism in Children

If you ever check on your children at night, you may notice that they are grinding their teeth. The official medical term for teeth grinding is “bruxism,” it can be pretty common in children and often takes place during sleep or times of stress. According to statistics, two to three out of ten kids clench and grind their teeth and jaw, but a majority of them will eventually outgrow it.

Triggers for Bruxism

The exact cause of bruxism has yet to be determined, but there are cases where children grind their teeth because their bottom teeth are improperly aligned. Other stressful times, such as teething and earaches, can be reasons for kids to clench their teeth in an effort to ease the discomfort.

Children can also become stressed by a shift in a normal routine or due to exterior factors like after-school activities, tests, and assignments in school. A child can also suffer if parents are arguing around them, causing them to react by clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth. There are also situations where children who are on certain mediations or suffer from medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, start to show signs of bruxism.  

Effects of Bruxism

A majority of children who develop bruxism do so without any negative effects and do eventually outgrow the condition, but there are instances where it can cause earaches or headaches and be an annoyance to family members and those around the child because of the sound of grinding teeth.

There are also situations where the child can clench or grind his teeth so much that he starts to wear away at tooth enamel, chip a tooth, experience sensitivity to temperatures and/or develop major jaw complications and facial pain. One example of jaw problems a child might suffer from because of bruxism is temporomandibular joint disease, otherwise known as TMJ. Unless and until bruxism becomes a chronic condition, it generally will not become TMJ.   

If your child has developed bruxism, make an appointment with your dentist to have them checked today.