Teeth Grinding in Kids: Therapeutic Alternatives and Mouth Guards

Over the years, the importance parents give to caring for their children’s teeth from an early age has increased, improving their quality of life in adulthood. For this reason, awareness and monitoring of infants’ habits in their early years are essential for their development.

“Supervising children’s habits since their first teeth appear is critical to avoid possible dental problems in adolescence or adulthood.”

We, as parents, should not only focus on aspects of dental hygiene to prevent damage but also bad habits such as the misuse of teeth to open cans or containers that many people take for granted.

Chewing school pencils, eating sweets frequently, and not brushing their teeth at least twice a day are some bad habits affecting children’s dental health. But there are also other everyday habits in infants that might go unnoticed by parents, but still, they can control, like pacifier use.

Sucking a pacifier might become problematic when the child uses it constantly as an attachment object. Excessive pacifier use causes the jaw to mold forward, producing teeth and jaw misalignments.

Regrettably, some habits might be hard to identify and require a professional approach. This article addresses the problems related to tooth grinding in kids, and we present solutions to the problem.

Why Are My Children Grinding Their Teeth?

Child bruxism is quite common and is usually present at night while your kid is sleeping. It can relate to anxiety problems, stress due to schoolwork, family problems, and moments of tension in the day, among other factors.

Approximately 80% of children have signs or suffer from bruxism during infancy. Grinding teeth also relates to the development of the jaw muscles,  jaw bones, and facial muscles.

The psychological cause of bruxism interferes with sleeping, affecting the kid’s habits at resting hours. In some cases, it can manifest in sleep disorders like sleepwalking episodes.

From a dental perspective, It is detrimental to the integrity of the teeth. It might cause one or some of the following:

  • tooth wear,
  • tooth enamel erosion,
  • tooth sensitivity,
  • tooth pain,
  • jaw joints pain,
  • tooth fractures,
  • ear pain and,
  • facial pain.

When parents detect signs of bruxism in time, it is best to see a specialist as soon as possible.

How To Stop My Child From Grinding Their Teeth?

From the first moment you notice your kid grinds its teeth at night, schedule an appointment with a specialist to help you determine the possible causes of the problem and provide adequate treatment before there is tooth damage.

In an ideal world, you might expect that once your child goes to the doctor, they will stop grinding their teeth. However, in many cases, the problem persists or worsens over time.

You then should consult your dentist so that they can assess whether there is dental wear or if the gums have been affected.

The dentist will likely prescribe a hard dental guard or splint to prevent teeth from wearing down. We also suggest that your child perform relaxing activities, stress management, and recreational activities during the day so that she can fall asleep without problems in her head at night.

Physiotherapy can also help achieve muscle relaxation and prevents oral tension.

Types of Mouthguards

If the dentist’s treatment includes oral protection, it is crucial to know the types of protectors in the market. These special prostheses prevent trauma and protect the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth.

After using protectors, your kid’s dentist will help to reduce dental wear significantly.

Some mouthguards are

Custom-made mouthguards:

They are custom-fitted mouthguards specially tailored for your kid by the dentist;

Boil-and-bite mouthguards:

They are made of soft material and available at sporting goods stores designed to protect sports practitioners’ mouths in contact sports. Sometimes, parents need to soften the sports mouthguards by inserting them in boiled water.

Stock mouthguards:

Counter mouthguards or one-size-fits-all mouthguards are ready to wear, and you can find them at drugstores. Be aware sometimes they don’t fit well.

How to Care For Your Mouthguard

Mouthguards need care. Luckily, it is nothing out of this world to keep them ok. First, you must distinguish some mouthwards are disposable, and you need to discard them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

You might need to replace your kid’s mouthguards due to regular wearing and because their mouths grow and change.

Here we include some tips so that the mouthguard is always in the best condition to use:

  • wash it frequently in cold water and with liquid soap;
  • rinse it before and after each use;
  • in case your kid is not using the mouthguard, store it in a thick container with ventilation so that it can dry, reducing the possibility of bacteria accumulation and:
  • do not leave the protector (night guard) exposed to the sun or in hot water; it could deform badly

At Epic Dentistry for Kids, We Care About Your Little Ones Grinding.

Teeth grinding might become a serious issue if left untreated. Dental wear can expose your kid’s teeth’ outer layer, making them prone to bacteria accumulation, breaking, and the need to treat them with invasive procedures.

Severe grinding left untreated might lead to tooth loss. If you detect your kid grinds her teeth, don’t doubt a single minute and look for medical assistance and treatment.

Also, schedule a dental visit at Epic Dentistry for Kids. We will discuss the alternatives to help your kid’s teeth be healthy and strong.