When Are Mouth Guards for Children Needed?

When Are Mouth Guards for Children Needed?

May 02, 2023

Some kids grind their teeth after they have fallen asleep. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding can lead to various oral issues accompanied by joint pain, headache, and other symptoms. According to our pediatric dentist in Greenwood, teeth grinding is caused by stress: crooked teeth, missing teeth, or an abnormal bite. Mouth guards in children are used to protect your kid’s teeth from trauma and tooth-grinding habits.

Detecting the symptoms of bruxism in its early stages helps with early diagnosis and treatment before the teeth are further damaged. However, mouthguards are not used to treat the clenching and grinding of teeth. They only minimize the pressure and the force the teeth endure at night.

To permanently treat teeth grinding, the kid’s dentist near you will have first to address the underlying cause of bruxism. For example, if a bad bite causes tooth grinding, the dentist will have to recommend orthodontic treatment to align the teeth. Visit us at Kids First Dental for consultation on mouthguards for children.

Getting a mouthguard for children

There are several ways by which one can get a mouthguard for their child, one being purchasing one from their nearest grocery store. Here are three types of mouthguards near you:

  • Custom-fit Mouth Guards. These are dentist-provided mouthguards. They are created from molds of the kid’s lower and upper teeth so they can snuggly fit when worn. Custom-made mouthguards are designed to be comfortable when worn and are rarely noticed by the child while asleep. They are made in the dental lab and usually take two weeks.
  • Boil and Bite Guards. These are over-the-counter guards and are typically the cheapest. This variety of guards is bulkier than needed and rarely fits appropriately. Boil and bite guards are placed in boiling water to soften the plastic and are worn when it’s not too hot. The child will bite down the plastic, molding it to their teeth to maintain its new shape as it cools.
  • Athletic Mouth Guards. These guards are designed for sports. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Athletic guards have additional benefits like antimicrobial properties or strategic openings that increase airflow.

Ways to alleviate teeth grinding in children

Mouth guards will only reduce the impact of teeth grinding on your child’s teeth. The underlying causes have to be addressed for long-term solutions. However, pediatric dentists don’t always recommend mouthguards for children since they can affect the growth and alignment of the kid’s developing teeth. Ways that teeth grinding can be alleviated in children include:

  • Help them practice relaxation exercises to relieve tension and anxiety before they sleep. Try meditating and stretching exercises before bed.
  • Get them off electronic devices for at least two hours before bedtime
  • Make them practice proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily.
  • Keep off your child from caffeinated drinks and foods such as chocolate or soda. Tooth grinding can be caused by hyperactivity. In addition, if hyperactivity is why they have bruxism, encourage them to get plenty of exercise throughout the day to prevent it.
  • Consult a pediatric dentist on long-term orthodontic treatment solutions for bruxism. For example, if your child has misaligned teeth that cause pain, it could lead to teeth grinding.

How to Keep Mouthguards in Shape

Once your child gets a mouth guard for grinding teeth, you should help them maintain and keep the guard in shape. Ensure they:

  • Rinse it before use and brush it with a soft-bristled tooth and a non-abrasive toothpaste after use.
  • Regularly clean it with soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.
  • Store the mouthguard in a container that is ventilated for air circulation.
  • Avoid leaving it in the sun or hot water.

Ensure that your child has regular dental check-ups to make sure that the guards are still fitting correctly. They may require new guards, especially if their new teeth are coming in.

Protect your child’s teeth.

Tooth grinding is standard in kids as their teeth are growing in. Grinding may lead to complications such as chipping and enamel wear. If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth at night, connect with our pediatric dentist, Dr. John Patangan. The dentist will examine the damage and provide mouthguards to protect your child’s teeth.

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