Oral Care Tips for Parents

4 Tips to Stop Kids from Grinding Their Teeth (Bruxism)

Bruxism or the nocturnal grinding of teeth is often concerning for parents.  Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on their teeth during sleep. I will go over four tips to help stop kids from grinding their teeth.

Does Your Child Grind His Teeth At Night? Referred to as Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um)

The parent may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to the dentition. There are many theories as to why children grind their teeth. One theory as to the cause involves a psychological component. Stress due to a new environment, divorce, changes at school; etc. can influence a child to grind their teeth. Another theory relates to pressure in the inner ear at night.

If there are pressure changes (like in an airplane during take-off and landing, when people are chewing gum, etc. to equalize pressure) the child will grind by moving his jaw to relieve this pressure.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism in children

  1. Tooth grinding at night loud enough to wake up a sibling or parent.
  2. Flattened, worn or chipped teeth
  3. Tooth pain or sensitivity
  4. Difficultly opening or closing the jaw
  5. Sleep disturbances
  6. Earache or headaches

What is the treatment for pediatric bruxism?

The majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth (attrition) is present, then a mouth guard (night guard) may be indicated. The negatives to a mouth guard are the possibility of choking if the appliance becomes dislodged during sleep and it may interfere with growth of the jaws. The positive is obvious by preventing wear to the primary dentition.

How do I stop my child from grinding his teeth?

  1. Create stress free bedtime rituals
  2. Keep your child hydrated by including lots of water in your child’s diet.
  3. Massage before bedtime
  4. Have one of our pediatric dentists monitor your child’s teeth.

The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. Teeth grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding their teeth between ages 9-12.

If you suspect your child has bruxism,  Call us today 1+907-562-1003 to schedule your child’s visit.

Dr Brant Darby DDS

Dr. J. Brant Darby graduated with honors from The Master’s College with a degree in Biology. He completed his dental training at the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, followed by a pediatric dental residency at University of Nebraska Medical Center. He actively served as a dental officer in the United States Army for eight years.

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