What parents need to know about teeth grinding or clenching in children
Teeth grinding or clenching can be a common issue among adults and children. Also known as bruxism, it is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity with thrusting of the bottom jaw (mandible) and can occur either during sleep or when awake.
In adults it can lead to many dental and muscle issues, characterised by tooth wear, gum disease, headaches and disorders of the jaw joint which can all have an impact on the quality of life.
Although in some cases, bruxism can self resolve and decline by adulthood, it is crucial to be aware of the damaging consequences it may have in the developing child.
RISK FACTORS FOR BRUXISM IN CHILDREN?
There is more controversy than consensus as to why bruxism occurs in children, however, there are a number of risk factors (these are risk factors NOT definitive causes) that seem to correlate with bruxism:
- Poor sleep patterns (sleep hygiene) and sleep disordered breathing
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- High levels of stress
- Children with disturbances in muscular control caused by brain injuries
- Influence of emotional factors, such as having to deal with an accumulation of tasks, loss, expectations, conflict, self-image, self-esteem, and anxiety.
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR FROM TEETH GRINDING OR CLENCHING?
It is important to speak to your paediatric dentist at MPD should you suspect your child is suffering from bruxism.
Some of the common problems that may be associated with bruxism can be:
- Tooth wear
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Frequent arousal from sleep
- Mouth breathing/loud breathing during sleep
- Challenges with waking in the mornings
- Daytime sleepiness/tiredness
- Challenges with behaviour/aggressiveness
If you feel your child has a bruxing habit then book an appointment to chat with one of our specialist paediatric dentists.
Examining teeth for signs of wear and conversing about your child’s sleep is part of the conversation your dentist will have with you during your initial consultation.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP AT MPD
If you have any other questions about teeth grinding or clenching then please get in touch with the team at MPD and we will be happy to help.
If your child is overdue for their next appointment give us a call on (02) 9188-0202 or book online here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics and to help begin the conversation with your children’s dentist. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care professional prior to incorporating this as part of your child’s diet or health regimen.