Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding of teeth or the clenching of jaws. Many kids have it– 2 to 3 from every 10 will grind or clench, professionals state, but many outgrow it. Bruxism often takes place during deep sleep stages or when kids are under stress.
Why does my child grind her teeth?
Professionals don’t know for sure what causes teeth grinding (or bruxism, as dental practitioners call it), but they implicate stress or stress and anxiety, pain (from earaches or teething, for instance), and malocclusion (a dental term for when the teeth don’t line up just right.) Some likewise recommend that breathing problems– from a stuffy nose or allergies— may contribute. And there’s some evidence that pinworms are in some cases the perpetrator.
Finally, your child might just be getting used to the experience of having teeth in her mouth. Teeth grinding isn’t really uncommon amongst babies who are getting their first teeth, starting at around 5 or 6 months of age. It’s also typical among children who are beginning to get their irreversible teeth, at around 6 years of age.
About 38 percent of children grind their teeth. The average age for beginning the practice is around 3 1/2 years, and the typical age for stopping is 6– though, obviously, people of all ages grind their teeth.
Your child is a bit more likely to grind her teeth if you do. She’s likewise more likely to grind her teeth if she drools or talks in her sleep. Nearly all teeth grinding happens at night, though some kids do it throughout the day, too.
Is teeth grinding bad for my child?
For the most parts, teeth grinding noises even worse than it is. It’s likely that your child isn’t doing any damage to his teeth and he’ll quickly grow out of the practice.
Mention your child’s grinding to his dental professional, however, so she can examine his teeth for wear and any resulting problems, like pulp exposure, cavities, or fractures. Also have your child checked if he suffers pain in his face or jaw throughout the day, due to the fact that this can be a result of zealous teeth grinding.
Can I do anything to help his (her) stop?
Although the sound can be perplexing, you’ll most likely simply need to await your child to outgrow the routine. In the meantime, it won’t harm to deal with a calming bedtime routine– perhaps a leisurely soak in the tub, a little back rub, calming music, or extra cuddling in the rocking chair.
If your child is teething or has an ear infection, ask your doctor about offering her the proper dose of acetaminophen or (if she’s 6 months or older) ibuprofen to relieve the discomfort.
Some mamas of infants report that they provide their little ones a pacifier when they begin grinding their chicklets. (It may not stop the grinding, but they choose paying attention to the squeak of a pacifier than teeth grinding together.).
If there’s a problem with the method your child’s teeth are lining up, the dental professional may be able to polish them to fit together much better. Older children who grind regularly are sometimes fitted with a night guard– a plastic device fitted to the mouth to prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep. However your child’s dentist probably will not consider this up until your child has at least some permanent teeth, around age 5 approximately.