Bruxism in Children

Teeth Grinding

It’s not uncommon for children to grind their teeth. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, affects somewhere between fifteen and thirty-three percent of the population at some point in their childhood. It will commonly occur during the eruption of new teeth, since this is a painful experience.

Though this will often pass quickly, some children go on grinding for months or years at a time. Here are some tips for identifying and dealing with your own child’s bruxism problem:

  • It is common for children to grind their teeth without even realizing it, possibly while sleeping. Listen for grinding during the night, and be on the lookout if he or she ever complains of an unexplained headache or sore jaw.
  • Stress is the culprit in many cases of bruxism. Try to identify any stressors in your child’s life, and look for ways to alleviate them.
  • Your child can reduce grinding by massaging his or her jaw muscles or applying a warm compress to them before going to bed.
  • Make sure that your child is getting enough to drink, as dehydration can cause or aggravate bruxism symptoms.
  • Alert our Issaquah dentist to your child’s bruxism. It is possible that there is a dental problem that needs to be addressed.

On the Lookout for Bruxism

Teeth Grinding

Most people grind their teeth every once in a while, but grinding too much can quickly become a problem that your Issaquah dentist may have to deal with. The medical term for tooth-grinding is “bruxism”, and it can wear down your teeth, give you headaches, and put strain on your jaw that can lead to TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of Bruxism

One of the problems with bruxism is that many people don’t even notice that they suffer from it. This could be because they only grind while asleep, but they can also grind throughout the day without being conscious of the action. It therefore pays to be on the lookout for the warning signs; if your jaw is frequently sore for no apparent reason, or if you notice a family member habitually grinding, this may be something to bring to the attention of your dentist.

Bruxism & Social Anxiety

Dentists have known for some time now that stress is a big contributing factor to tooth grinding, or bruxism. As social anxiety generally causes stress in social situations, it can naturally be concluded that people struggling with social anxiety are more prone to bruxism.

To further understand this relationship, a group at Tel Aviv University studied a group of seventy-five participants. These participants were men and women in their early thirties, forty of which experience social phobia, about half of which were on medication for their problem. These participants underwent an oral and psychiatry examination. Researchers found that there was moderate-to-severe wear on the teeth of 42.1% of the group with social phobia, and only 28.6% of the control group. Meanwhile, 32.5% of the first group exhibited jaw play, as opposed to only 12.1% of the control group. Waking bruxism was observed in 42.5% of the first group, and a mere 3% of the control group.

Indeed, it would appear that social interaction is a major trigger for bruxism in people struggling with social anxiety. To find out more about how you can protect your teeth and overcome tooth grinding, talk to Meadow Creek Dental in Issaquah.