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Does Your Child Grind Teeth At Night? Then You Need To Know This

Teeth grinding or bruxism (in medical terminology) is a condition in which people tend to grind or clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding is not that harmful. It is only when teeth grinding becomes a regular task that you need to worry about it.

Does Your Child Grind Teeth At Night? Then You Need To Know This

Teeth grinding is quite common in children

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Make you child drink lots of water in case of teeth grinding
  2. Teeth grinding may lead to loss of tooth
  3. Children usually grind their teeth while sleeping

Teeth grinding or bruxism (in medical terminology) is a condition in which people tend to grind or clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding is not that harmful. It is only when teeth grinding becomes a regular task that you need to worry about it. Too much grinding of teeth can damage teeth and also give rise to numerous oral health complications. Some people are known to grind their teeth because of stress or anxiety. At times, teeth grinding often occur during sleep. This usually happens because of an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may also be responsible for teeth grinding.

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Teeth grinding is common among children
Photo Credit: iStock


How to find out if you are grinding your teeth?

Most people remain unaware of the fact that they grind their teeth during sleep. Mild symptoms like constant headache or a sore jaw when you wake up may indicate that you have bruxism. Often, people who sleep next to you may tell you that you grind your teeth at night. Excess wear on your teeth or jaw tenderness are other symptoms of teeth grinding.

Also read: Here's How Dentists Take Care Of Their Own Teeth: Great Tips By Our Expert

Is teeth grinding harmful?

Teeth grinding is not harmful as far as it happens occasionally. Chronic teeth grinding however, can result in fracturing, loss of teeth, or teeth loosening. Chronic teeth grinding can cause wearing of teeth down to stumps. In such cases, you might need crowns, bridges, implants, root canal treatment, partial dentures and sometimes, even complete dentures. Severe cases of teeth grinding may result in tooth loss.

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Teeth grinding may result in loss of tooth
Photo Credit: iStock

How to stop teeth grinding?

1. Once you are sure about teeth grinding, visit your dentist. The dentist will provide you with a mouth guard which will protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

2. In case stress is causing teeth grinding, you need to work towards reducing stress. Addressing the root cause of the problem always works better than addressing the symptom of it. You can seek therapy or indulge yourself in activities which you are fond of. This will help in reducing stress effectively.

3. Similar is the case with teeth grinding causing sleep disorders, where you need to work towards dealing with sleep disorders first.

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Cut down on your child's intake of caffeine in case of teeth grinding
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: All About Gum Disease, Best Tips To Keep It Away

4. If there are no causative factors, you can cut down on caffeine to reduce teeth grinding.

5. Avoid alcohol as alcohol drinking becomes more intense after teeth grinding.

6. Chewing on pencils and pens, chewing gums can also cause teeth grinding. These activities make your jaw muscles used to more clenching, thus increasing teeth grinding as well.

7. Notice the times you are grinding your teeth during the day and train yourself to stop at that time. You can try positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This helps relax your jaw muscles.

8. You can relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

Teeth grinding in children

Around 15 to 33% children are prone to teeth grinding. Children are likely to grind their teeth when their teeth are emerging or when their permanent teeth are developing. Most children get rid of their teeth grinding habit after their two sets of teeth have come in more fully.

Children grind their teeth more during sleep as compared to when they are awake. Improper alignment of irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, some kind of illness, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, pinworm, endocrine disorders or psychological factors like stress or anxiety can lead to teeth grinding in children.

Teeth grinding in children may lead to headaches, wearing of teeth and joint pain. You need to take your child to the dentist in case his/her teeth look worn or if s/he complains to tooth sensitivity or tooth pain.

Also read: 10 Everyday Must Do's For Oral Hygiene

Following are some tips to reduce teeth grinding in children:

1. In case stress is causing teeth grinding, work towards reducing your child's stress, especially before bed time.

2. Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water. Dehydration may lead to teeth grinding.

3. No intervention is required for teeth grinding pre-school age children. Elder might temporarily need crowns or other methods such as night guard in order to prevent teeth grinding.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 

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