Teeth grinding, or bruxism, refers to excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw, and is common in children. The first indication is the noise created by your child grinding on their teeth during sleep. Or, you may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to your child’s dentition.
Although teeth grinding is often the result of stress in adults, the same is not always true with children. If your child’s teeth grinding is not the result of stress, other possible causes include irritation in the mouth, inner ear pressure, allergies, and misaligned teeth.
The good news is that, because your child’s teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly, teeth grinding is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence. However, if excessive wearing of the teeth is present, we may recommend wearing a nightguard when your child has all his or her permanent teeth.
Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by a dentist from soft material to fit the teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your child's top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.