Kids Grinding Teeth In Sleep – Is Bruxism Harmful For My toddler?
Kids grinding teeth in sleep is a subject that’s often under discussion with first-time mums. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your toddler is constantly moving his or her mouth while asleep and you may have noticed a grinding noise when their teeth meet. These are all common signs of teeth grinding in children.
Teeth grinding or bruxism as it’s officially known, occurs at different stages during a person’s life and for a variety of reasons. According to the University of Michigan Health System, bruxism is a common habit in normal development and occurs in more than 50% of all infants. It’s suggested that babies may start to grind their teeth while sleeping as their teeth start to come in, around the age of 6 months or older and then again when their permanent teeth begin to make an appearance, around the age of 5.
Although it can be worrying to hear the harsh sound of your little one’s teeth grinding, most times bruxism doesn’t cause any lasting damage. Sometimes, however, bruxism can be caused by anxiety or medical problems, so it’s always wise to have it checked out.
Why do toddlers grind their teeth while sleeping?
It’s estimated that 2 out of every 10 children will grind or clench their teeth states the Nemours Foundation and although bruxism is most common during the night, you may notice your infant displaying signs of bruxism during the day, when they’re awake.
At Smile Gallery we don’t always know what causes a child to grind his teeth at night. It could be:
- Their teeth aren’t properly aligned.
- Your toddler has an earache or discomfort from teething and is clenching his teeth to try and relieve the pain.
- A result of any medication being taken or certain medical conditions such as allergies, dehydration, and nutritional deficiencies.
In older children teeth grinding or bruxism can be a sign that they’re feeling anxious or stressed. In the latter case, it could be that they’re worried about starting a new school, the birth of a sibling, or moving house, for example. Sometimes you and/or your doctor may not even get to the exact cause of their bruxism.
Toddler teeth grinding in sleep – When to visit a dentist
If you notice your toddler is grinding their teeth most nights of the week, then it’s a good idea to make an appointment with our friendly dentists at Smile Gallery.
We’ll check for teeth grinding symptoms such as unusual wear and tear to their teeth which has resulted in cracks or chipped enamel, or even teeth that have broken. We’ll also check for teeth misalignment which could be the reason for their bruxism in the first place.
Teeth grinding treatment
If older children are feeling pain in their jaws from bruxism then we’ll often treat it with a nigh-guard. These are flexible, thin pieces of plastic that fit over the upper gums and prevent any damage occurring to teeth that are rubbing together. However, because a toddler’s teeth are constantly changing, getting the guard to fit well is a problem; and at such a tender age, a toddler is unlikely to understand the reason for wearing a teeth grinding mouth guard.
One thing which you simply mustn’t do is to wake a toddler who is teeth grinding in sleep since this could make their bruxism symptoms worse and mean that they don’t get sufficient rest at night.
So, if you’re wondering how to stop kids grinding teeth in sleep, in most cases there is no real bruxism treatment. If you suspect they’re feeling anxious about something then try establishing a bedtime routine which could include reading to them while they drift off into a calm, relaxed sleep. Meanwhile, relax in the knowledge that most children grow out of bruxism before they get their permanent teeth.
If you’re worried your toddler or older child may have bruxism then please call (03) 8595 2632 to make an appointment with the team at Smile Gallery. We’ll check them out and put your mind at ease.