Why Bullying Might Be Linked to Teeth Grinding
- March 3, 2022
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With the prominence of social media and the pressure on youngsters to mature faster these days, it’s never been more difficult to be a child. A new study has discovered that children who grind their teeth may be bullied. Teeth grinding, it appears, is a warning that parents should be aware of and that could assist call attention to the fact that their child is being bullied.
Adolescents who are bullied are more prone to grind their teeth while sleeping. According to the study, they were roughly four times more likely to suffer from sleep bruxism or tooth grinding and clenching. This was in comparison to children who were not bullied. Bruxism is a primarily nocturnal sleep disease in which individuals grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, which can lead to serious dental health issues.
The human jaw is capable of applying significant pressure, which over time can wear down teeth or cause them to become chipped and broken. Oral pain is common in those who have bruxism. It has the potential to extend over their face and even down into their neck and shoulders. Migraines are common in those who have bruxism. Bruxism, if not treated properly, can cause irreversible damage to the teeth and potentially the jaws.
It may appear weird to associate bruxism with bullying. Indeed, bruxism is frequently related with stress, and bullying may have a substantial role in a child’s stress levels.
Your child does not have to be bullied to suffer from bruxism.
While it is possible that your child is grinding their teeth as a result of bullying, this is not always the case. Bruxism is fairly frequent among youngsters, especially those under the age of 11. In fact, it’s so prevalent that paediatric dentists may only treat it if it causes serious tooth wear or pain, or if a child is having condition sleeping.
It is a para-functional activity, which means it is not part of typical activity. Children are especially vulnerable to these types of habits, which are frequently unconscious. Nailbiting, finger or thumb sucking, and cheek biting are also frequent childhood habits. When a youngster becomes aware of their habits, they may frequently be stopped or corrected.
It’s a little more difficult when a child gets bruxism because it happens while they’re sleeping.
When do children develop bruxism, and what factors put them at a higher risk?
Sleep bruxism can start as early as age one in a healthy child, soon after they get their front teeth. It’s likely that teeth grinding at this age is linked to the immaturity of the muscles that control chewing. It is assumed that bruxism develops when sleep transitions from deep REM sleep to non-REM sleep. It has been discovered that in young adults, more than 80% of bruxism episodes occur during non-REM sleep, while just 5 to 10% occur during deep sleep.
Children who snore or breathe through their mouth are more likely to have bruxism. There is supposed to be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and bruxism. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and muscles at the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to become partially or totally closed. As a result, the tongue falls backward, obstructing the airway.
Sleep apnea can be harmful because sufferers are frequently half awake throughout the night. This inhibits a child from getting enough rest, which has an impact on his or her growth and development. There’s also a chance that bruxism is linked to swollen tonsils, which can impede the upper airway. In certain cases, removing a child’s tonsils or adenoids has helped to prevent teeth grinding. Asthma and infections of the respiratory system are another probable risk.
Prescription drugs, such as antidepressants and ADHD medications, may contribute to teeth grinding. The number of youngsters who are prescribed these medications is increasing. Bruxism in older teens is sometimes related with smoking, consuming alcohol, and using illegal drugs.
Bruxism Treatment and Prevention
In many situations, children outgrow bruxism, and a paediatric dentist may not prescribe therapy. A dentist may recommend therapy if there are symptoms of tooth wear or other indications that bruxism is causing potentially long-term damage to their oral health. Because teeth grinding behaviours change over time, it can be difficult to establish if tooth wear is caused by a current bruxism habit.
Diet could also be a factor in teeth grinding. Sugary soda intake has grown, which has contributed to enamel loss. Furthermore, fruit juices and sports drinks are frequently heavy in sugar and may be acidic. Your child’s paediatric dentist may advise you to examine their diet to determine if any foods are causing tooth wear. If this is the case, they can advise you on how to modify your child’s nutrition to help them keep their teeth.
If your child does have bruxism, your dentist will want to know about any other symptoms he or she is experiencing. Headaches, especially waking up with a strong headache, jaw pain, or an earache are examples of these symptoms. If your child’s paediatric dentist believes that their teeth grinding requires therapy, he or she may recommend a custom-made thin plastic night guard. A night guard or night splint is often made of a durable thermoplastic material and fits over the upper teeth.
This is done so that when your youngster clenches or grinds their lower teeth, they will slide harmlessly across the plastic. While this method may be appropriate for youngsters who have adult teeth, it may not be appropriate if your child still has baby teeth. If your child’s bruxism is caused by a blocked airway, your paediatric dentist may refer him or her to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
It may be worthwhile to take your child to see their paediatrician if prescription medicines are suspected of being the source of the problem. They might be able to prescribe an alternative medicine or change the dosage. Before quitting any medications or modifying the dose on their own, they should always consult with their paediatrician. For many children, teeth grinding will be a harmless habit that they will outgrow, no matter how horrifying it may sound to their parents.
However, it’s always a good idea to seek expert counsel to ascertain the cause and whether therapy is necessary.
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