You’ve probably heard of cavities and tooth decay, but bruxism is a more subtle oral health problem that affects nearly 30% of children today. Here’s what parents should know about the issue and how they can help their children overcome it.
What exactly is bruxism?
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, affects a surprising number of children – approximately one in ten. Teeth grinding usually occurs while children are sleeping, and if left unchecked, it can become a dental problem.
Teeth grinding on a regular basis can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce bad bite patterns, and make teeth more prone to cavities and decay.
What factors contribute to bruxism?
External factors such as stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and medication reactions can all contribute to bruxism. Some children grind their teeth to calm themselves down, and most are unaware of it until the next morning.
Bruxism can result in headaches, earaches, facial pain, as well as bite and jaw problems. Teeth grinding can also cause enamel loss, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay. Bruxism patients frequently complain of jaw and tooth pain, particularly in the back molar area.
Because the causes of bruxism vary, pinpointing the exact cause can be difficult. If your child is particularly stressed or anxious, try to reduce their stress right before bedtime by stretching or practicing yoga. Encourage them to take a relaxing shower or a hot bath before going to bed.
If your child grinds their teeth on a regular basis, their dentist may recommend a night guard to protect their teeth and mouth. A night guard relieves the pain of teeth grinding and protects tooth enamel from wear.
Is your child a bruxist?
A trained dentist will examine your child’s mouth to determine if they have bruxism and will recommend a treatment plan based on their findings. Untreated bruxism can harm your child’s oral health, cause them to lose sleep, and impair their academic performance. We highly recommend Bullhead City Dentistry if you are looking for a dental office in Bullhead city.
Have you ever caught yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth? Have you ever told your partner or spouse about the sound of your teeth grinding together at night? Most people only have bruxism when they sleep, but some unfortunate souls grind and clench during the day as well. Some people may be unaware that they are causing damage to their teeth while sleeping.
Bruxism symptoms and risks
Some patients are well aware that they clench their jaws or grind their teeth. However, because it occurs most frequently while we are fast asleep, many patients may be unaware they have a problem.
The following symptoms may indicate bruxism:
I woke up with a sore jaw
Headaches in the temples in the morning
In the morning, a gritty sensation in the mouth
You wake up with your jaw clenched shut
A family member hears the distinctive sound of teeth grinding together
Teeth that are sensitive, particularly in the back of the mouth
Tooth enamel that has deteriorated or cracked
Bruxism can endanger your oral health in a variety of ways. Teeth may appear to be very hard and resilient, but constant tooth-on-tooth friction can cause structural damage. Enamel can wear away, and teeth can develop cracks that deepen over time. It can even cause teeth to loosen, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Bruxism can cause chronic headaches and jaw pain in addition to tooth damage. Fatigue and soreness may occur if the jaw muscles are constantly used throughout the night. It can even cause people with proper bite alignment to develop temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms (TMD).
What factors contribute to bruxism?
It is thought that temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is linked to bruxism because many TMD patients grind their teeth. The jaw joints do not function optimally when the bite is not properly aligned. This can result in stress and muscle fatigue, causing the jaw muscles to “work overtime” when they should rest.
It’s also been suggested that hereditary factors may play a role, because bruxism is more common in some families but not others. Some believe that some cases of bruxism are caused by a neurological disorder, as certain medications that alter brain chemistry have been linked to jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
There is no cure for bruxism, but there are treatments available. Treatments from your dentist can help prevent tooth enamel damage as well as headaches caused by jaw clenching.
How can a dentist help with bruxism?
If you suspect you are a grinder/clencher, consult your dentist about a bruxism oral appliance. While we can’t stop you from grinding your teeth, we can help you avoid further enamel damage. When sleeping, a small customized device can be worn to provide cushioning between the teeth and prevent further damage. If your enamel has already been severely damaged, we can protect and restore your teeth with dental crowns.