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Bruxism is commonly referred to as teeth grinding, and is an involuntary action in adults and children, often caused by stress or anxiety. In many cases, bruxism is directly related to a stressful situation, such as the loss of loved one, financial troubles, or in children, perhaps the death of a pet, or a change in environment. This often means that the condition resolves itself as soon as the period of stress had passed.
However, even if it is just a passing phase in your child, continued grinding and gnashing can be damaging to their teeth in the long run and even result in other conditions, such as earache, jaw pain, headache, and facial sensitivity. It is estimated that as many as three in ten children suffer from bruxism, so if you overhear your child biting in their sleep, or they complain of any of these symptoms, they may need to use a dental bite guard.
The Causes of Bruxism
There are several possible causes of bruxism, with the main culprit usually cited as stress or tension in adults. However, in children there are a few more possible factors to consider such as:
- Sleeping problems
- Malocclusion (bad alignment of upper and lower teeth)
- A response to pain (such as teething)
- Acid reflux
Managing Bruxism in Your Child
Your first port of call for getting help with bruxism is your child’s dentist. Check out jsdentallab.com for a dental night guard to keep their teeth apart, or to see if corrective treatment, such as braces, may be needed. Try to identify the possible causes of the problem if you suspect that it is stress related.
If you’re able to speak with your child about the problem, you may find out that they had a fight with a friend, they’re stressed about exams at school, or that they’re having some problems with a teacher. And if your child can’t or won’t talk to you about the issue, try to keep an eye on the symptoms, or speak to their caregiver or head teacher.
Making sure that your child is as relaxed as possible before going to bed is an excellent way of helping to combat stress. So try a hot bath, reading them a story, or listening to some soothing music. It’s also essential that they burn off their excess energy during the day, so ensure that your child gets enough playtime or sports practice.
Bruxism is best dealt with at the root of the cause, so don’t stop at visiting your dentist. If the problem persists and your efforts don’t seem to be making a difference, it may be worth finding out if visiting a child therapist would be beneficial, to enable them to develop tools for coping with stress as they grow up.
ss2Community, Inbound.organd TestPrepPlace.com. In her free time, Sam is an avid traveler, foodie and lover of all things technology. She’s also a fitness fanatic (in the making).