When Your Child Grinds Their Teeth

main-logo-finalWhile adolescence seems to encompass a series of habits in which parents would like to break, dentists want them to know—if your child begins to grind their teeth, don’t consider it a bad thing, at least not right away. Surprising to some, teeth grinding, or Bruxism, is considered a normal behavior, particularly for children under the age of 11.

Teeth grinding may occur during the day (diurnal) or during the night (nocturnal). As with other habits such as nail biting, cheek biting, or suckling, children are susceptible to grinding their teeth without being aware of it. Stressful situations or moments of focused concentration are often when grinding occurs.

Dental professionals explain that grinding can begin during infancy for some children. Specifically, it tends to begin after the first two teeth erupt, leading some to believe that the stress of teething contributes to grinding. On the other hand, researchers have noted that grinding is a natural occurrence as infants move between sleep cycles.

While parents shouldn’t loose sleep over teeth grinding in the above-mentioned cases, there are other theories to consider. For instance, some report that teeth grinding is related to obstructive sleep apnea, in which the child’s airway is partially obstructed. Sleep apnea should be taken seriously, as it can interrupt sleep patterns and inhibit a child’s cognitive development. Also connected to airway obstruction are enlarged tonsils, which is also a proven cause for teeth grinding. Others factors that deserve attention are asthma and respiratory infections.

Though the following are lesser-known causes of bruxism, they should be noted. For instance, the use of antidepressants and amphetamines are believed to contribute to teeth grinding. In addition, children with medical conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and Epilepsy have been known to grind their teeth.

Know What You Are Dealing With
While the origins of teeth grinding in children is not completely understood, there is enough information for parents to gain a better understanding of what they’re dealing with. In addition, pediatric dental professionals become an invaluable and trusted source for information relating to their child’s Bruxism.

At Vital Smiles, we believe that your child deserves access to the very best dental care available. In turn, we believe that parents need an advocate when it comes to addressing specific habits or behaviors that may impact your child’s oral health. Therefore, if you believe that your child is grinding their teeth, call us today. While Bruxism may be a normal behavior for your child, it’s always a good idea to have your child’s teeth examined.

Posted on behalf of Vital Smiles

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