Can Kids Wear Mouth Guards at Night?

Can Kids Wear Mouth Guards at Night?

March 24, 2022

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, are common dental problems among adults and children. According to research, approximately 35% of children experience bruxism at some point in childhood. Teeth grinding and clenching happens unconsciously, when asleep or awake.

For this reason, your child might not be aware they clench or grind their teeth. If not addressed promptly, bruxism can lead to long-term complications such as teeth damage, teeth loss, and jaw injuries. If you notice your child clench their jaw and grind their teeth, it’s a good idea to have them checked by a pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Symptoms Of Pediatric Bruxism

Generally, the symptoms of teeth grinding may vary. However, common signs to watch out for include:

  • Earache
  • Headaches
  • Worn-out, cracked, or chipped tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw pain and tightness in the jaw muscles
  • Poor bite

What Causes are Teeth Grinding at Night?

Unfortunately, there’s not one clear cause of bruxism in children. However, common causes include:

Oral factors – Factors such as overcrowding or misaligned teeth can affect your upper and lower teeth, leading to bruxism.

Underlying conditions. Systemic factors such as earache, physical pain, dehydration, sleep apnea, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, endocrine disorders, and intestinal parasites can grind teeth. Addressing these issues can help stop teeth grinding.

Lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors such as stress due to change of environment, divorce, tension at school, death of a loved one, or traumatic events can trigger anxiety, anger, and restlessness, which leads to bruxism. It would help if you talked to your child regularly to evaluate their mental health. If necessary, you can seek psychological help.

Can Night Guards Help with Pediatric Teeth Grinding?

Since the underlying cause of bruxism may be challenging to diagnose, there are several treatment options you can use to manage the effects of bruxism. Getting your child a night guard is a great way to reduce the damage caused by bruxism.

Several options are available for your kid’s nightguards, such as stock mouthguards. They’re the most affordable but offer the least protection. Fitting them can be difficult. Also, ill-fitting nightguards can be uncomfortable and even cause breathing problems.

There are also boil-and-bite nightguards. They’re ready-made but can be customized by boiling them and having your child bite them. Compared to stock guards, boil-and-bite guards offer more protection and comfort, but they can be more expensive. They’re also bulky and can cause breathing difficulties when sleeping.
Lastly, there are custom-made nightguards. They are the most effective and comfortable and the most expensive nightguards. The dentist will take impressions of your child’s mouth and create a customized mouth guard. Compared to other mouthguards, custom-made mouthguards are the best for children and adults with bruxism. They offer maximum protection and comfort and won’t affect your child’s breathing and speaking abilities when sleeping.

Can a Child Wear a Night Guard?

Wearing a nightguard is the most common solution for pediatric bruxism. To ensure maximum benefit and minimize any risk, ensure you get your child a customized nightguard from your dentist. Custom-made mouthguards are designed according to the child’s mouth, making them comfortable and safe.

When sleeping, wearing a nightguard will prevent dental and jaw damage caused by teeth grinding, safeguarding your child’s oral health. To make it comfortable for your kid, you can have the mouthguard customized to your child’s favorite color. Some companies also develop flavored mouthguards to encourage the child to wear the nightguard.

Unfortunately, some children may still be uncomfortable wearing a nightguard. This discomfort can interfere with their sleeping patterns and cause gum irritation. You can consult your child’s dentist for alternatives or replacements if this happens. To know whether it’s safe for your child to wear a night guard for teeth grinding, visit a pediatric dentist near you for a dental exam and professional advice.

Final Verdict

Generally, it’s safe for a child to wear a night guard when sleeping. However, it would be best to get a customized nightguard from your dentist to ensure maximum protection and comfort. For more information about teeth grinding and nightguards in children, contact Belknap Dental Associates and schedule an appointment.

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