Bruxism in children

Bruxism (unintentional gnashing of teeth) is a fairly common problem among both children and adults. Such symptoms are observed in 7-20% of adults and in 25-50% of children. More often bruxism is observed in preschool children.

Bruxism is a pathological condition that is accompanied by episodic day or night rhythmic activity of the masticatory muscles and friction or tapping of the teeth, their grinding and clenching. Such episodes last 5-10 seconds and can occur several times during the night. At the same time, a sound similar to a creak is heard by others at a distance.

Types of Bruxism:

  • Day. It arises as a reaction to external irritation, severe nervous tension and rarely leads to abrasion of the tooth surface. May be accompanied by biting fingers or biting the lips.
  • Night. It occurs during night or daytime sleep and is more common than daytime. It leads to abrasion of enamel.


  • Gnashing of teeth.
  • Changing the bite and erasing the surface of the teeth.
  • Acceleration or deceleration of the pulse.
  • Fluctuation in blood pressure.
  • Changing the rhythm of breathing.
  • Restless sleep.
  • Headache, dizziness.
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joints.
  • Depression.
  • Drowsiness.

Each of the symptoms may indicate the presence of other diseases. Only with their combination can we talk about Bruxism.


  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Nervous strain, stress. In children, this condition often happens after an emotionally charged day.
  • Pathology of the trigeminal nerve associated with a violation of its innervation.
  • Defects in the structure of the jaw.
  • Pathology of the temporomandibular joint, its chronic inflammation.
  • Teething period.
  • Toothache.
  • Individual features of the structure of the teeth, abnormal bite and the absence of some teeth.
  • The presence of braces, dentures and low-quality fillings.
  • Psychoses and neuroses. In case of neuropsychiatric diseases, the brain cannot relax even during sleep, which causes tooth grinding.
  • Worms, contrary to popular belief, are not the cause of gnashing of teeth. This theory has not received scientific confirmation.

Diagnosis of this disease is often not difficult, as either parents notice a characteristic grinding of teeth in their child during sleep, or the patient himself may notice these symptoms.

Treatment The
treatment of bruxism should be comprehensive and aimed at eliminating both dental and psychological problems. It should be noted that dental care will only minimize or avoid the damaging effects of bruxism on the teeth, but will not remove the root causes. Except when the cause of gnashing of teeth is only dental.

Dental care:

  • Occlusive tires and mouth guards worn before bedtime. This kind of device protects teeth from abrasion.
  • Correction of malocclusion.
  • Timely and high-quality dental treatment, staging of dentures.

Psychological and other methods of assistance:

  • consultation of a psychologist and a neuropathologist in order to find out and treat the causes of excessive stress, mental disorders and neurotic conditions;
  • in the daytime – control of the compression of the jaws and holding the teeth at a small distance from each other;
  • a warm compress or a heating pad on the area of ​​chewing muscles before bedtime;
  • light massage of the facial and chewing muscles;
  • child’s observance of the daily routine and the absence of active games at bedtime to prevent overwork and over-excitation of the nervous system;
  • soothing herbal teas (chamomile, mint, lavender, etc.);
  • restriction of caffeinated products;
  • the introduction into the diet of solid fruits and vegetables (apples, carrots, etc.), which will lead to fatigue of the masticatory muscles and will allow them to relax during sleep;
  • talk with older children about the dangers of grinding teeth and the need for self-control.

With prolonged bruxism, tooth enamel abrasion occurs, the bite changes, the teeth become sensitive to cold and hot food. Constant headaches, pain in the chewing muscles, paranasal sinuses, and ears also occur.


  • Timely dental treatment.
  • Treatment of nervous system disorders and stress management.
  • Healthy lifestyle.
  • Self-control and self-relaxation training.

Remember that bruxism in children is a common and non-dangerous phenomenon. But with the appearance of a night grinding of teeth, one should pay attention to this and take the necessary measures so that this temporary phenomenon does not develop into a serious problem.

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