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Teeth Grinding: Why Your Child Does It and How to Prevent It

kids dentists

When your child settles down to go to sleep, the last thing you expect to hear as a parent is the sound of them grinding their teeth. But childhood teeth grinding is more common than you think. In fact, approximately 30% of children grind their teeth while they’re sleeping or in response to stress.

Teeth grinding can be very bad for your child’s teeth just like it can be for adults. But what exactly causes your child’s teeth grinding and what can you do to prevent it? Here, we’ll dive more into childhood teeth grinding and what you can do to help keep your child’s teeth happy and healthy.

What causes teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is oftentimes caused by stress and anxiety. However, when your child grinds their teeth while they’re sleeping, it’s most likely caused by crooked or missing teeth, an abnormal bite, or a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is just one sleep disorder that can cause teeth grinding. If your child grinds their teeth during the day, it may be because of stress. It’s important to show your child healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety to prevent them from doing harm to their teeth.

Why is teeth grinding dangerous?

Your teeth are meant for chewing food, not for biting into hard surfaces. When you grind your teeth together regularly, you’re putting significant wear and tear on your teeth. This can cause cracking, chipping, and harm to your enamel. Your child may wake up with tooth pain, jaw pain, or their teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, contact your local kids dentists at Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today. Our professional kids dentists can help prevent your child’s teeth from grinding while they sleep to help keep their teeth in great shape. But how do kids dentists help prevent bruxism?

How can I prevent my child’s teeth grinding?

While daytime bruxism can be treated by helping your child find healthier ways to reduce stress and anxiety, nighttime bruxism can be treated with the use of a mouthguard. There are three different types of mouthguards, and choosing the right type of mouthguard for your child is essential. The key mouthguard types include: custom-made mouthguards, pre-made mouthguards, and “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguards.

Our pediatric dentists at Smilez Pediatric Dental Group can help you find the right mouthguard for your child. It’s important to find a mouthguard that’s tear-resistant and fitted well for your child’s mouth. The mouthguard won’t make it difficult for your child to breathe at all and won’t be a choking hazard. It’s simply meant to protect your child’s teeth.

How do we take care of my child’s mouthguard?

Because your child’s mouthguard will sit on their teeth while they sleep, it’s important to keep the mouthguard clean. You don’t want bacteria to grow in the mouthguard where they can cause cavities. Show your child how to clean their mouthguard to help keep their teeth healthy. To clean it, start by gently scrubbing the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste after each use just like you would your own teeth. However, be sure to use warm water rather than hot water. Placing your mouthguard in hot water or storing it in the sun can cause the mouthguard to change its shape.

Once your child’s mouthguard is clean, store it in the mouthguard’s protective case. If your child wears a retainer, it’s essential to make sure they don’t wear both at the same time. Be sure your child doesn’t chew on pieces or the corners of their mouthguard, either, to keep it in good shape.

Visit your local kids dentists

If your child is grinding their teeth, whether they’re asleep or awake, it’s important to take them in to visit their dentist for preventative care. It’s best to catch teeth grinding early to prevent dental damage. To learn more about bruxism or to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s teeth.