Teeth grinding is a common occurrence in children–roughly 15-30% of all children grind their teeth in their sleep. This is typically due to misalignment of the jaw (underbite, for instance) or from missing teeth. While occasional teeth grinding in your children isn’t something to be concerned about, it can cause damage to the natural teeth and make jaw misalignment worse if it’s a nightly occurrence.

While teeth grinding – also known as bruxism – isn’t dangerous, it can be detrimental to your child’s teeth. For adults, it can wear away teeth until you require dental implants, crowns, bridges, or dentures. Fortunately, teeth grinding is usually a solvable underlying cause, and while it’s being treated, your dentist can help prevent further damage. Let’s take a look at what bruxism is, how you can identify it, and how your Houston dentist can help with the following dental issues:

Bruxism in Children

woman struggling with teeth grindingAs we stated before, a large portion of children grinds their teeth from time-to-time. Children interpret stress and anxiety differently from adults, and one way that it manifests is the grinding of teeth while they sleep. Since teeth grinding in sleep is the most common way that bruxism presents, it often goes unnoticed, especially if your children don’t often tell you when they’re hurting.

For most people – children and adults alike – teeth grinding will result in jaw pain. It can also result in a teeth grinding headache, a sort of dull ache on one side of the head. Your dentist will be able to determine if the wear on the teeth is due to teeth grinding as well.

For children in middle school and earlier, causes of teeth grinding will usually resolve on their own. There might be a need for intervention for older kids and adults, as the teeth and jaw stop growing and changing as we age. If your children are still grinding their teeth in high school, your dentist should likely intervene.

What Causes Bruxism in Children?

For many kids, the cause of bruxism is simply their bites being misaligned. This can be due to an under-or-overbite, but also simply because as they lose teeth and their permanent teeth grow in, their top and bottom sets of teeth don’t meet properly. This will usually go away as more teeth fall out and new ones replace them.

For some kids, stress is the primary cause. Poor sleep can also cause teeth grinding, and stress can cause poor sleep – it’s a vicious cycle. Your child’s primary care provider should be able to address methods to help them relax before bed, but some simple steps you can take to manage your child’s stress and anxiety are:

  • Increase their exercise during the day
  • Massage the jaw before bed
  • Ensure your child is drinking plenty of water. Poor hydration can cause muscles to tense up, including those in the jaws, which can lead to teeth grinding in sleep.

Lovett Dental North Heights

If you’re looking for teeth grinding help in the North Heights area, Lovett Dental in Houston is accepting new patients. We offer general and family dentistry, as well as periodontics, orthodontics, and oral surgery. Our friendly staff can help address your child’s bruxism issues with mouth guards and advice on how to resolve teeth grinding. We also serve adults with teeth grinding issues as well, helping to intervene before serious damage occurs, as well as prosthetic solutions for long-term bruxism sufferers.

Contact us today at 832-617-5531 to find out how Lovett Dental in the North Heights can help your family’s smile for a lifetime! Visit any of our dental offices in Houston or check out our website to see a complete list of services we offer.