Teeth grinding, known medically as bruxism, is a serious dental issue that can result in a loss of tooth enamel, and it often happens while someone is asleep. This is a problem that can affect young children just as much as adults. Though the exact cause is often unclear, childhood bruxism may be due to issues such as misaligned teeth, stress, or teething pain. It can also be a symptom of other medical issues, such as cerebral palsy or hyperactivity.
If your child is grinding their teeth while they sleep, you should take them to the dentist as soon as possible to talk through treatment options. Unfortunately, it can be tough to know if your child is grinding their teeth at night — in fact, they often don't even know themselves.
However, you can keep an eye out for common signs. Here are just four to watch out for.
1. Grinding Noises as They Sleep
If you think your child might be grinding their teeth as they sleep, it's worth checking on them at night. In many cases, you will be able to hear when they are grinding. You can also ask any siblings who share a room with them. Remember, grinding isn't continuous. Episodes usually last a few seconds and occur a few times an hour, often in clusters, so you're not going to hear grinding all the time.
2. Complaints of Facial Pain
Your child might not know they are grinding their teeth, but they will know when they are experiencing pain or discomfort. If they mention pain around the face or jaw, especially right after waking up, night-time tooth grinding could be the cause since it puts a lot of strain on the jaw muscles. You may also notice them rubbing their jaws in the morning, especially as they eat breakfast.
3. Complaints of Sensitivity
One of the main problems associated with tooth grinding is that it wears away tooth enamel. This is the tough outer surface of your teeth. It protects the more sensitive inner layer and pulp, so sensitivity often becomes more of a problem as it is worn away. If your child is grinding their teeth at night, they are more likely to experience oral sensitivity. If they express discomfort while eating or drinking anything cold or hot, tooth grinding could be the reason why.
4. Lack of Proper Sleep
Many children will sleep fine even when they grind their teeth, but this is not always the case. Heavy grinding often disrupts sleep cycles, leading children to wake up frequently at night. If your child always seems tired despite going to bed and getting up at the right time, it's possible they are waking up at night, and night-time tooth grinding might be the reason why.
For more info, contact a local children's dentist.Share