TMJ Guide

Discover The Causes and Damage Caused by Teeth Grinding in Children

‘Teeth grinding’ in children is usually prevalent as a habit or oral condition termed Bruxism. This habit involves tightly clenching the upper and lower teeth in a tight grip and moving the teeth in a forward and backward grinding motion. Teeth grinding in little children can be a cause of worry for a new mother, but the habit is often a temporary condition that a child out grows after about six years of age. Rarely does teeth grinding in children persist right through adulthood (although it is not unheard of).


What causes teeth grinding in children?


As with adults, causes of teeth grinding are usually difficult to ascertain with accuracy. The reason for this is that the causal factors of teeth grinding in children are many. Very often there are several factors that are at play simultaneously and therefore looking for a single cause is at times misleading.


Some of the more common causes that are known to trigger teeth grinding in children can be listed as follows:


  • Teething problems of childhood and the discomfort associated with it
  • Abnormal growth of teeth (especially of milk teeth)
  • Mal alignment of teeth that does not enable correct closure of the upper and lower set of teeth
  • Abdominal problems
  • Anxiety factors in children (arising from home environment or school life)
  • Disturbed sleep due to other health complications
  • Hyperactivity during day time behavior can cause teeth grinding during sleep times at night

Usually a lot of teeth alignment factors get corrected through the natural growing up process and therefore teeth grinding symptoms die a natural death in children, without causing any damage.


Damage caused by teeth grinding in children


There are however cases of intense teeth grinding in children that have resulted in damage to teeth. When teeth grinding habits persists for a long duration after the permanent teeth appear, the damage to children’s teeth can include wearing of teeth enamel, as well as headaches, facial pain, ear pain or jaw problems.


Severe teeth grinding habits require proper examination and diagnosis through a specialist, in order to eliminate a more serious nature of Bruxism. A dentist might suggest the use of a night guard if the damage to teeth is imminent or severe. However such devices are not the solution to teeth grinding. Anxiety induced teeth grinding in children can be dealt with by initiating relaxation methods especially prior to sleep times.


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