In the first part of the article you learned about how bruxism manifests, what are the common causes, based on the age and how lifestyle habits can trigger bruxism. But bruxism is a condition that can result from more than medication, smoking, diseases and age.

Stress and heredity

Either grinding during sleep or clenching while awake are associated to stress. Specialists don’t understand yet the mechanism by which these factors trigger bruxism. Emotional, stressful states are manifested physically by the intense release of adrenaline-like hormones. These initiate the “fight or flight” response. Studies showed that people that suffer from bruxism have high levels of hormones in their urine if you compare it to those that don’t suffer from bruxism. What is more interesting is that parafunctional habits seem to run in the family, which means that bruxism may be transmitted genetically.

Other studies that researched teeth grinding found close links to aggression and somatization (process where psychological distress may be expressed as physical symptoms).  The reports indicated that aggression manifests in a physical way as bruxism in children as young as five years old.

Children and teens who suffer from PTST (post traumatic stress disorder) may also suffer from bruxism. This condition may be relieved with counseling, muscle relaxation and other forms or treatment that reduce psychological stress.

About treatment and prevention

Because kids usually outgrow this condition, it is not recommended to seek treatment, unless this habit is showing troubling signs and symptoms (like excessive tooth wear). But it is quite difficult to determine if the dental wear is because of tooth grinding or not.

There are also other symptoms associated with bruxism, like headaches, ear pain, and jaw pain. Another thing you need to consider if your child is suffering from bruxism is the diet as a possible factor. If they consume too many soft drinks, the tooth wear will be much greater because of the enamel erosion. Any drink that has high levels of sugars, sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices and any acidic drinks can erode the teeth much faster. Saliva usually neutralizes the acids in the mouth within 30 minutes, but if your child drinks such beverages, it often can be a problem.

If your dentist finds traces of dental problems, such grinding, they may recommend a plastic nightguard to prevent any parafunctional activity during their sleep. The dentist may also recommend you to a specialist to help with the treatment, as mouthguard remedies proved not to work for baby teeth. If your child clenches or grinds his or her teeth, you should ask your dentist for advice and trust their knowledge and experience. With their help, you child could be bruxism-free.