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There’s nothing quite as heart-warming as watching your child have sweet dreams. But some parents are more likely to hear the sounds of grinding teeth, called bruxism, than they are to hear gentle breathing.

Bruxism is the medical term for jaw clenching or grinding teeth, which many children suffer from. Experts report that approximately two to three children out of every 10 will grind their teeth. But, while some children outgrow it, others aren’t aware that it happens because it occurs when they’re in deep sleep.

What causes bruxism and how can it affect my child?

It’s not exactly known why bruxism happens. Some kids will grind their teeth because their top and bottom teeth aren’t properly aligned while others do it in response to teething or an earache. Stress and anxiety are also causes of bruxism.

Bruxism can have negative side effects if it goes undetected. In some cases, children may suffer from earaches or headaches. Nighttime bruxism, in particular, can wear down tooth enamel, chip teeth, increase temperature sensitivity, cause jaw issues, and cause several facial pain.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

It can sometimes be challenging to detect bruxism because many children aren’t aware that they grind their teeth. It’s typically parents or siblings that are able to identify the issue.

Common signs that are good to watch out for include:

  • Grinding sounds when your child is asleep
  • Your child complains of a sore jaw when they wake up
  • Pain while chewing

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, visit your dental pediatrician. They’ll examine your child’s teeth for chipped enamel, unusual wear and tear, or unusual sensitivity.

Many children outgrow bruxism, but your dentist may prescribe a special night guard to prevent it. The guard is molded to your child’s teeth and it’s similar to a mouth guard that athletes wear.

Where can I find a dental pediatrician near me?

Kids with poor oral health are up to three times more likely to miss school because of their dental pain. A dental pediatrician can help your child learn how to take care of their teeth so they can live a happy and healthy life.

If you’re looking for a dental pediatrician or a Northern VA dental clinic, Pediatric Dental Care is the place for you. To learn more about our pediatric dental services or to schedule your first dental appointment for your child, contact Pediatric Dental Care today.

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