Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Teeth Grinding in Kids – Causes, Effects and Treatment

When kids grind their teeth it is called bruxism. Bruxism usually happens during the night, when kids clench the lower and the upper teeth, while rubbing them. Usually kids do this when they're sleeping so they don't know they're doing it.

Why do some kids have bruxism?

The causes of bruxism aren't well known for now. Some kids will do the teeth grinding, others will not. A lot of people think that bruxism happens because in some cases the teeth of the kids don't fit well together. That happens sometimes because the jaws and teeth don't grow at the same time, but in phases. This provokes sensations that are unpleasant, so kids will do the teeth grinding, which makes them feel better. Sooner or later this will become a habit for the kid. Teeth grinding also appears when both adults and kids have some kind of pain at their teeth or ear, or when they are anxious. A lot of children that are hyperactive also get bruxism.

Recently, studies suggest that another reason why kids get bruxism is sleep disturbances. These sleep disturbances can also provoke drooling, bet wetting or sleep talking. Because REM patterns (rapid eye movement) are interrupted while you sleep if you're dehydrated, this can signal a number of other issues, but your dentist can give you more advice about that.

What effects does bruxism have?

Usually, there are no problems for kids if they grind their teeth. It's going to be fine even if their milk teeth appear, because there isn't any damage or pain. If it happens a lot though, or if the kid loses their milk teeth, you should ask a doctor if everything is alright. In some cases, it's possible for teeth infections to show up, so check with a doctor. Usually, kids will get over this problem in time, so don't worry about it too much.

How can we help?

In most cases, bruxism will disappear on its own, but you probably should try to get him to stop grinding teeth anyway. You should ask a dentist for some tips, and he can check and see if there are any issues with his teeth, like a bad alignment.

Usually, the dentist will recommend a mouth guard for your kid. If the kid wears it while he sleeps, the teeth grinding wil be avoided. It is used often as a treatment and it usually works. You shouldn't avoid other treatments just because this one is good. In plenty of cases kids don't feel good wearing the mouth guard. Another good treatment was hypnosis, which works well on people, no matter how old they are.

If the cause of the teeth grinding is caused by anxiety or stress, you need to find out what causes these feelings. You can try relaxing the kid before sleeping, either with jaw massages or warm baths. These methods will help the kid sleep better, uninterrupted and relaxed.

What you need to take from this is that you shouldn't be worried about teeth grinding in kids. It happens a lot, and it's more of a problem if the kid already has his adult teeth. In that case, you should take him to a dentist, to see what's causing it.

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