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. Tooth grinding is often associated with airway obstruction, such as large tonsils and/or adenoids, or certain sleeping positions. 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, your child’s dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard.
If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your child’s dentist about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.