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Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can be a severe dental concern that doesn’t just affect adults. Bruxism in children is more common than you may think and can affect other aspects of a child’s daily life. Misaligned teeth are one likely suspect for why children may grind their teeth, while others may do it to relieve anxiety or stress. Teeth clenching and grinding can also stem from hyperactivity, cerebral palsy, or even a reaction to certain medications.
Here are five signs to watch for if you are concerned that your child may be grinding their teeth unknowingly while they sleep or while awake.
Sign #1: Your Child Complains of Jaw Pain or Earaches
Teeth grinding places a lot of excess stress and strain on the jaw muscles. As a result, many chronic teeth grinders experience frequent earaches and jaw pain. If your child has expressed any of these complaints, there is a chance he or she is grinding their teeth.
Sign # 2: Headaches Are a Regular Thing
Regular headaches can be a sign of several illnesses in children; however, if they happen in addition to other dental-related symptoms, it may be teeth grinding, causing their headaches. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching is often related to stress or anxiety. Children can experience headaches or facial pain due to the muscle tension in the jaw that happens when a child grinds their teeth. Keep a log of how frequently your child is experiencing headaches with notes on the time of day and any stress triggers that may be surrounding the incidents.
Sign #3: Their Teeth Look Worn Down
If a child is grinding their teeth at night during sleep, parents can often hear the grinding sound, especially if the child is a heavy grinder. Additionally, if they share a room with a sibling, they may also be able to hear the constant noise. A surefire way to tell if a child has been grinding their teeth is if their teeth are worn. Visible flat edges or a worn surface on teeth crowns means it’s likely that bruxism is the cause.
Sign #4: They Experience Sensitivity To Hot or Cold Foods
Bruxism causes excessive wearing of the teeth, which frequently leads to increased tooth sensitivity in children and adults. If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort when eating or drinking anything hot or cold, they could be grinding their teeth. Switching your child’s toothpaste to a sensitive toothpaste suitable for children can reduce this type of discomfort.
Sign # 5: They’re Always Tired, Even After Sleeping
Not getting enough sleep at night can affect anyone’s mood and behaviors regardless of age. However, if a child is constantly feeling tired, especially when he or she is getting enough hours of sleep, it may be an underlying problem. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine for your child may help in reducing their stress before bed. Parents who suspect that their child might be suffering from sleep troubles are encouraged to consult with their pediatrician.
Helping Your Child Achieve a Lifetime of Healthy Teeth and Gums
Scheduling routine exams and cleanings for your child at Hoffman Dental Care every six months is one of the best ways to ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums for life. Not only do routine checkups help identify teeth grinding early on, but also to find other oral health issues in their earliest stages.
If your child is exhibiting the signs of teeth grinding or having other painful issues with their oral health, contact Hoffman Dental Care today to schedule an appointment.