You may think grinding your teeth is simply an annoying habit that interrupts you or your partners sleep pattern. Though it is true that occasional teeth grinding isn’t usually a concern, we say chronic grinding can cause damage to your teeth. Bruxism, as teeth grinding is medically called, can occur in people of all ages. This includes children as young as toddlers. Though the reasons why people grind their teeth vary, the potential for oral health issues is real for all grinders. If you notice you are grinding your teeth, or are waking up with a sore jaw, consult your dentist quickly to diagnose the problem.
Most people assume Bruxism is caused by stress and anxiety from day to day life. For some patients, this is true. According to experts however, most patients will grind their teeth because the teeth are crooked, or their bite is misaligned. Children, on the other hand, tend to grind their teeth during the developing stage of baby teeth and adult teeth. Like adults, most children grind their teeth at night in their sleep. The most likely cause of Bruxism in children is the misalignment of their bite during the development of new teeth. However, it is important to have your child seen by a dentist if you notice teeth grinding. In some cases, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying illness.
Once your dentist determines the cause of your teeth grinding, you can begin a plan to manage it. Most patients will be fitted with a mouth guard to protect their teeth at night. However, it is important to treat the root of the cause to reduce or eliminate grinding. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are known to have a side effect of Bruxism. Once the sleep apnea is treated, teeth grinding typically goes away on its own. Stress and anxiety can be managed with meditation, exercise, counseling and sometimes muscle relaxers. Follow up with your dentist after your initial visit if you continue to notice you are grinding your teeth.