Three Things Parents Need To Know About Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a damaging habit, and surprisingly, it's common among kids. Here are three things parents need to know about teeth grinding.

Why do kids grind their teeth?

Kids can grind their teeth for many reasons. One possible reason is stress, so determine whether your child is going through a stressful time. If they're not stressed, their teeth grinding may be caused by additional factors like misaligned teeth or irritation inside their mouth. In kids, teeth grinding can even be caused by allergies!

Can teeth grinding harm the teeth?

In adults, teeth grinding can lead to problems like worn enamel or chipped or broken teeth. Fortunately, teeth grinding doesn't usually lead to tooth damage for kids. This is because their teeth and jaws are growing quickly.

However, chronic grinding can still lead to problems. While your child's teeth may not be damaged by their habit, they could wake up with morning headaches, due to grinding at night. Headaches can make it harder for your child to pay attention in school.

Jaw discomfort is another possible side effect of a teeth grinding habit. Grinding the teeth is hard work for the jaw muscles, so your child may complain that the muscles around their jaw feel sore or stiff. For these reasons, your child should still be seen by a dentist.

How can dentists help?

Your child's dentist can help you determine the cause of your child's teeth grinding. If misaligned teeth are to blame, orthodontic treatments may be recommended. Orthodontic treatments—like braces—aim to move the teeth into the appropriate positions inside the mouth to correct their alignment. When your child's upper and lower teeth line up the way they should, they may stop grinding their teeth.

If mouth irritation is to blame, their dentist will determine the cause. For example, a chipped tooth could be rubbing against the insides of their cheeks and causing irritation; this can be fixed with cosmetic treatments like bonding. If allergies are to blame for the grinding, your child will need to see an allergist for appropriate treatment.

If your child's teeth are getting damaged due to grinding, their dentist may create a custom-made mouthguard for them to wear. These mouthguards protect the teeth from the effects of grinding.

If you think your child is grinding their teeth, take them to a dentist like McMillin Jeff DDS right away. Their dentist can offer solutions to stop this bad habit.