A preventive dentist for kids can help to educate your child about the importance of oral hygiene and teach them ways to properly brush and floss their teeth. Good oral hygiene goes a long way when it comes to keeping teeth free of tooth decay and gum disease.Gum disease is pretty rare for young children,…
When Are Mouth Guards for Children Needed?
Mouthguards for children help to protect their teeth against trauma and habits like teeth grinding. The latter is a condition that affects about 17% of children in the U.S. Most people with the condition are not aware of it and it is more likely to occur during sleep.
Teeth grinding is often caused by stress in adults, but that is not always the case for children. Other reasons why a child might grind their teeth include:
- Mouth irritation
- Poorly aligned teeth
In many cases, bruxism is not caused by a single factor, so understanding possible causes is necessary to administer effective treatments. Signs your child might grind their teeth include:
- Sore jaw
- Dull headaches
- Fractured, chipped, or broken teeth
- Loose teeth
Being able to detect the symptoms of bruxism can help with early diagnosis and treatment. Mouthguards for children do not treat teeth grinding, but they do minimize the forces the child’s teeth have to deal with as they sleep. This reduces the damage done to their teeth.
The only way to bring a permanent end to bruxism is by addressing the underlying cause. For example, teeth grinding that is being caused by a bad bite can be fixed by administering orthodontic treatments. Addressing the underlying cause early on typically saves parents money and time over the years.
Getting a mouth guard for children
The cheapest way to get a mouth guard for a child is by purchasing one at the grocery store, but these are the boil-and-bite variety. These appliances are typically bulkier than they need to be, and they rarely ever fit properly. Also, some of these nightguards are made from rubbery materials that encourage teeth grinding.
Custom-fitted night guards provided by a dentist are the way to go. These appliances are made from molds of the child’s lower and upper set of teeth, so they fit snuggly when worn. These appliances are designed to be comfortable when worn so the child barely notices there’s something in their mouth as they go to sleep. These custom-fitted mouthguards are typically made in a dental lab, and the process can take up to two weeks.
Ways to alleviate teeth grinding in children
As we mentioned earlier, a mouthguard only reduces the impact teeth grinding has on a child’s teeth. The underlying cause still has to be addressed for a long-term solution. Pediatric dentists do not always recommend mouthguards for children since they can hinder the growth and alignment of the child’s developing teeth. Also, most children outgrow teeth grinding by their teenage years.
Some simple things a dentist might recommend to alleviate your child’s teeth grinding include:
- Get the child off all electronic devices for at least two hours before bedtime
- Focus on improving the child’s hydration during the day
- Give the child a bath before putting them in bed
- Perform some stretching exercises with the child before bedtime
- Find out if anything is bothering the child
- Give the child a massage before bedtime
Protect your child’s teeth
A mouthguard can protect your child’s teeth from forces generated during teeth grinding. Call or visit our Middletown clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.
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