By Eve Bandusena | Writer for Parents Avenue
All images via Freepik
“Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws,” says Dr. Sylvia of Phi Dental. “Many kids will experience it. Two to three out of every ten will grind or clench, experts say, but most outgrow it.”
According to her, bruxism often happens during deep sleep phases or when kids are under stress. Parents can listen to harsher sounds of grinding teeth.
Some signs to watch for:
“If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, visit your dentist, who will examine the teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear, and spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity,” says Dr. Sylvia.
If the damage is found, the dentist may ask your child a few questions, such as:
The exam will help the dentist see whether the cause is anatomical such as misaligned teeth or psychological such as stress, and come up with an effective treatment plan.
“Most kids outgrow bruxism, but a combination of parental observation and dental visits can help keep the problem in check until they do,” says Dr. Sylvia.
In cases where the grinding and clenching make a child’s face and jaw sore or damage the teeth, dentists may prescribe a special night guard. Molded to a child’s teeth, the night guard is similar to the protective mouthpieces worn by athletes. Though a mouthpiece can take some getting used to, positive results happen quickly.
“Whether the cause is physical or psychological, kids might be able to control bruxism by relaxing before bedtime — for example, by taking a warm bath or shower, listening to a few minutes of soothing music, or reading a book,” suggest Dr. Sylvia.
For bruxism that’s caused by stress, ask about what’s upsetting your child and find a way to help. Talk with kids regularly about their feelings and help them deal with stress. Taking kids for routine dental visits can help find and treat bruxism.
“Avoid giving children caffeinated drinks and deworm your children 4-6monthly especially if your kid loves outdoor activity,” advises Dr. Sylvia.