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Help Your Child Beat Bruxism

Jul 23, 2015 - 03:07 PM EST |  Posted under: Pediatric Dentistry
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Have you noticed your child grinding their teeth or constantly clenching their jaw? If so, they may have a disorder called bruxism. It’s rather common, with up 30% of kids experiencing teeth grinding and clenching, and many naturally outgrow it. Find out if your child’s condition is truly a cause for concern.

The Cause of Your Child’s Case

There are various reasons for bruxism. It’s frequently due to dental disorders like a misaligned bite or crooked teeth. Yet teeth grinding can also be caused by stress, such as anxiety, anger, or tension. Finally, it can be a response to the pain of teething or an earache.

The Damage from the Disorder

If your child’s teeth clenching is infrequent, there may be no harmful effects and you may not even notice it. Yet severe cases of bruxism can have serious implications and is often easily detectable because you’ll see the child clench their jaw throughout the day or hear them grinding their teeth at night. Some of the signs of a problem include:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Serious pain in the face or jaw
  • Jaw problems like TMJ from chronic cases

The Time for Treatment

While many children simply outgrow the habit of teeth grinding, it can sometimes continue into adolescence. And if their teeth grinding is caused by stress, it won’t subside until the stress is relieved. But you can save your child from suffering by helping them manage the problem. Start by taking the child for a dental examination. Your dentist has various dental techniques that can help control teeth clenching and grinding, but you may be referred to a psychologist or specialist to treat the problem properly. Some of the most frequent treatments include:

  • Getting your child a mouth guard to protect teeth while sleeping.
  • Helping your child relax at bedtime.
  • Talking to the child about worries or stress they’re experiencing.
  • Teaching your child techniques to relax their jaw.
  • Keeping chewing gum out of reach since it encourages clenching and grinding.
  • Getting psychological counseling if your child has significant stress or anxiety.
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