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What to do if your child is a tooth grinder

Teeth grinding is common in young children, and yes, it can cause problems if it continues to go on for a long time – into adulthood. It is definitely worth visiting your dentist to find out if this will be just a childhood *thing* they will grow out of, and to see if they have, or haven’t grinded their teeth down to the dentine, as, this can lead to tooth decay and other problems.

Why do children grind their teeth at night? There really is no definitive answer. It could be related to their teeth coming through, or it could be related to breathing difficulties during sleep. This is often associated with the shape of the child’s palate and the size of adenoids and tonsils.

Is teeth grinding more common in children than in adults? When it comes to teeth grinding the enamel wear is more noticeable in children. The enamel on children’s teeth is a lot thinner, so wear is more pronounced, especially in baby teeth. By the age of 4 or 5 if the child is an excessive grinder their teeth can become very worn down.

Also Read This: Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Do most children grow out of grinding their teeth? Yes, although that can vary. When adult teeth come through, they may stop grinding their teeth, so adult teeth are often normal.

What should you do if you are worried about your child grinding their teeth? In most instances – nothing. Take your child to the dentist so he or she can assess what’s going on, it will also put your mind at rest. Once your dentist is aware of the issue they can monitor your child’s adult teeth as they come through. Teeth-grinding is something that often *sorts itself* and doesn’t need much in the way of intervention.

Can teeth grinding be related to sleep and breathing disorders? This is something your dentist would need to see for themselves to assess the situation.

Can children wear a night guard to bed? While adults can safely wear custom-made mouth guards to bed to protect their teeth from damage caused by grinding, for children it is not recommended as the mouth guard would need to be adjusted constantly as their teeth come through, from the ages of 4 years until they are around 14, 15 years of age it’s best not to have anything rigid in their mouth as teeth are still moving around.

How do you deal with it? The best course of action is to continue regular check-ups with your dentist who can keep an eye on your child’s teeth grinding and assess if it is becoming a bigger issue.

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