If your 5-year-old wakes up with a headache or face pain, or if you hear weird noises while they’re sleeping, it’s possible your child is one of the approximately 15 to 33% of children who struggle with a condition called bruxism.
Bruxism is a complicated word, but it’s just the medical term for teeth grinding. Everyone grinds their teeth from time to time, and in short bouts, it doesn’t usually cause much damage. Long term bruxism, though, can lead to some pretty serious oral health issues.
Sometimes, a person experiences bruxism, and there’s no obvious reason. In most cases, though, the condition is linked to something else. Common causes of teeth grinding in 5-year-olds and other young children include:
* Misalignment of the teeth or jaw.
* Medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, nutritional deficiencies, and endocrine disorders.
* Stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration.
Occasional grinding of the baby teeth isn’t necessarily cause for concern, but if it continues long term, bruxism can cause headaches, jaw pain, TMD, and enamel damage, which can lead to sensitivity.
Check in on your child while he or she is sleeping, and make a habit of asking how they’re feeling in the mornings. If your child reports (or shows any signs of) a headache, face pain, or difficulty chewing, take them to a dentist for an assessment. The dentist will check for signs of damage and may prescribe a custom-fitted nighttime mouthguard to protect your child’s teeth.
Like most oral health issues, it’s best to catch bruxism early. If left untreated, teeth grinding can do some serious damage to your child’s teeth. Treatment is easy! A comfortable, custom mouthguard can protect your child’s teeth from the damaging effects of grinding while he or she sleeps. It’s important to remember that, sometimes, teeth grinding in children is a sign of something more serious. In those cases, it’s especially important to seek advice, because the child may need treatment for something else, like a nutritional deficiency.
Kool Smiles Kids Club believes all children deserve access to quality dental care. We’ve partnered with dentists across the country who accept Medicaid, CHIP (formerly SCHIP), TRICARE, and most private insurance policies.
Kids Health: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bruxism.html