Teeth grinding is a common habit among young children—particularly those under 11 years old. It is so common that it should only be a concern if it happens at night, or if it is causing tooth pain or is wearing down teeth.
During intense concentration or stressful situations, a child may unconsciously grind his or her teeth. If you make him or her aware of the problem, and remind the child each time you see him or her doing it, it may be enough to help break the habit.
Often teeth grinding or bruxism occurs during sleep. Bruxism is common in young children who snore or breathe through the mouth while asleep. In these cases teeth grinding may be related to sleep apnea or enlarged tonsils.
When older teens grind their teeth, it may be done in association with smoking, or alcohol or drug use. Medication, trauma, and certain diseases, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and epilepsy may contribute to bruxism.
Most bruxism is related to some type of anxiety or stress. Be sure to have your child’s teeth examined regularly. If your pediatric dentist determines that bruxism is affecting your child’s teeth or bite, he or she may recommend a nightguard, or refer you to a specialist.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca of Naperville Dental Specialists.