Why Does My Child Need a Night Guard and Will It Help With Teeth Grinding?

Why Does My Child Need a Night Guard and Will It Help With Teeth Grinding?

February 1, 2022

If you decide to check on your child at night, then you hear a loud grating noise while they are sleeping;you could easily panic. Nevertheless, before you hit the panic button, know that there is a high chance that your kid is grinding their teeth while sleeping, a condition known as sleep bruxism.

Sleep bruxism is nothing new or even peculiar in your kid’s case. It is more common than you think, and almost 40% of the children or 3 out of 10have sleep bruxism before they reach 5.

Usually, there is no need for bruxism treatment from our pediatric dentist in Greeley since most kids outgrow the habit when they reach 6. But in some cases, the night teeth grinding may continue. If you notice that your kid has a sore jaw or headaches every other morning, then you may need to visit our pediatric dentist in Greeley.

Without further ado, let’s find out a thing or two about bruxism in children.

Bruxism 101

Every once in a while, people might grind or clench their jaw, especially under stress. But, when this becomes a habit, then it is known as bruxism. It is no different in kids. They, too, can habitually grind their teeth, even when asleep.

The problem of your kid having sleep bruxism is that it is hard to notice that they have the condition unless you share a bedroom or a sibling can report the habit.

Why Children Grind Teeth

Sleep bruxism is highly likely to occur because of a combination of factors such as family history, psychological factors, and environmental triggers. Bruxism always seems to run in families, but it is not clear whether it is because of upbringing or genetics. However, the exact cause of bruxism is still not yet clear.

In any case, some of the factors that can trigger bruxism are:

Anxiety and Stress

Stress seems to be closely linked to sleep teeth grinding. Studies have shown that kids under stress are more likely to have bruxism. If your child is trying to cope with school life, chores, or how they are performing in school, they might engage in bruxism. In most cases, the brain uses this method to relieve stress and anxiety.

Other Mental Health and Sleep Disorders

Along with anxiety and stress, sleep bruxism seems to affect children who have certain health conditions such as migraines or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can also go hand in hand with sleep disorders or disturbances such as snoring, sleep-related breathing disorders, and parasomnias.

Dental Problems

Sleep bruxism seems to be more prevalent in children with teeth alignment issues and thosewho use orthodontic appliances.

What Are Some of the Effects of Bruxism?

If your kid suffers from sleep bruxism, there is an increased risk of them developing the following issues:

  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Fractured teeth
  • Receding gums and other issues in the jaw and teeth
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep problems
  • Mental health issues such as depression

Signs That Your Kid Is Grinding Their Teeth

At times, your child may experience the signs of teeth grinding during the day, and they may include:

  • Tooth damage – check for worn-down teeth, fractures, or receding gums
  • Jaw pain and headaches – when the jaw is constantly clenched, it may cause headaches and jaw pain, and at times you may hear clicking sounds when they open their mouth
  • Sensitive teeth – grinding may wear down teeth, increasing teeth sensitivity to hot or cold stuff
  • Grinding sounds –check on your child while they are sleeping to see if they are making any grinding sounds

Treatments for Bruxism

Mainly, bruxism treatment revolves around controlling the damage to the teeth and reducing jaw pain and headaches. One of the main ways to deal with bruxism is using custom nightguards.

How Does a Night Guard Work and How Is It Beneficial?

A night guard resembles a mouthguard that athletes wear to protect their teeth from damage. Our pediatric dentist customizes kids’ mouth guards to ensure that the treatment is effective and comfortable.

Once your child gets their custom-made nightguard, they can wear it when they go to bed. Your child can wear the nightguard on the top or bottom teeth to guard the teeth against friction. In addition, some night guards may also reposition the jaw to help reduce the effect of bruxism.

Some of the benefits of your kid using a nightguard are:

  • Prevents tooth damage
  • Reduces jaw pain and tension
  • Prevents headaches
  • Provides healthy sleep patterns
  • Prevents snoring

If you suspect that your child has bruxism, contact our dentist at Toothtown of Greeley to schedule an appointment.

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