When most of our patients think about teeth grinding, they view it as a response to stress. What not everyone realizes is that adults are not the only ones who can be affected by this destructive habit. Dr. Vi Mai, a family dentist in Garland, TX, points out that grinding one’s teeth, a condition called bruxism, actually affects more children than adults. In fact, it has been estimated that almost one-third of kids will grind their teeth at some point during childhood. The good news? Most will grow out of it before they hit their teens.
Why does my child grind his teeth?
Children’s reasons for grinding their teeth are surprisingly similar to the reasons most adults cite, with stress being among the most common causes. Others grind their teeth as their body’s natural response to the growth and development of the jaw. Some, but not all, will resort to grinding as a means of coping with pain, such as that caused by a toothache or an earache. Teeth grinding sometimes is a response to having recently lost a tooth, and less commonly a response to allergies.
What if my child grinds her teeth at night?
A child whose teeth grinding is limited to nighttime will most likely be unaware of the fact. Unlike adults with nighttime bruxism, children are not as likely to report waking up with soreness or stiffness in their face, jaw, neck, or shoulders. As a result, a sibling or parent is more apt to notice nocturnal teeth grinding. However, they may report some or all of these symptoms.
How will teeth grinding affect my child’s oral health?
The good news is that, unlike adults with bruxism, most children will stop grinding their teeth without treatment. However, the constant friction and grinding motions can damage teeth in more severe cases. Patients whose teeth grinding starts to take a toll on their teeth may be fitted for a special oral appliance that will be worn at night–that is, when dealing with nocturnal bruxism. For stress-related causes, your dentist may recommend stress management or healthier coping techniques, such as deep breathing or even physical activity.
About Your Garland Dentist
Has someone in your family shown symptoms of teeth grinding? To learn more about treatment and prevention for bruxism, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vi Truong-Mai, contact us at (972) 530-0552. We welcome patients living in and around Garland, Murphy, Plano, Frisco, and across the Dallas area.