Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?

dental care of kids

If you’ve ever gone to check on your child while they are sleeping and notice that they are grinding and clenching their jaw, you know it’s a harrowing experience. The first step is always to determine whether the cause is a more serious issue, such as a seizure disorder. Even if this isn’t the case, and your child is afflicted only with the involuntary grinding of teeth known as bruxism, it can be difficult to know what the next step should be.

Luckily, there are dental interventions, including the use of a custom night guard, that mitigate the damage caused by incessant nighttime teeth-grinding. A night guard for bruxism will help reduce structural damage to the enamel of your child’s teeth and can save them from more significant issues down the road.

Although night mouthguards offer a practical and effective solution to the issue of teeth-grinding, you may still have questions about the root cause of bruxism. Unfortunately, the exact neurological reasons behind each case is complicated to figure out and a complete answer can elude even the most proficient of experts. That being said, here are a few factors that we now know are tied to the occurrence of bruxism in children.

Causes of Childhood Teeth-Grinding During Sleep

When trying to uncover a potential cause of childhood bruxism, medical professionals usually run through a checklist of physical and pathological factors that may be contributing to the issue. These factors range from the orientation of teeth to life-stressors to neurological conditions.

Alignment of Teeth

As your child continues to physically develop, their teeth begin to shift and their positioning in the mouth may change over time. Improper alignment between the top and bottom teeth is a common factor in children who experience nighttime grinding.

Psychological State

Anyone who has sat through a stressful experience is familiar with the sensation of a clenched jaw. States of unrest cause the body to tense up, including the mandibular and facial muscles, and these states can also spill over into our sleep. Although most people think of childhood as a carefree time, it’s important to check on your child to see if they are experiencing any symptoms of anxiety.

Mouth and Jaw Disorders

When it comes to teeth-grinding and mouth and jaw disorders, there is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg issue. For example, issues like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be the result, or cause, of issues with bruxism during sleep. Checking in with your dentist is a great first step for some guidance on what may be contributing to this issue in your child.

If you’re concerned that your child may require a custom night guard for teeth grinding, contact Markham 7 Dental today to learn more about our range of diagnosis and treatment options!

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