Does your child grind their teeth? Know more about teeth grinding in toddlers and ways how to make your child grinding their teeth.
Toddler grinding teeth
Photo by Ming Zimik
Teeth grinding, also referred to as Bruxism can happen at any age for a number of reasons. According to the University of Michigan Health System, children may begin grinding their teeth about 6 months of age or later when their baby teeth begin to erupt, and again at age 5 when their permanent teeth may begin to sprout.
Why does toddler teeth grinding occur?
According to the Nemours Foundation through Healthline, 2 to 3 children out of every 10 will clench or grind their teeth. Teeth grinding typically happens while your child is asleep, but you might sometimes notice them doing it during the day.
Many times, dentists don’t know the reasons why a child grinds their teeth. There could be some of the reasons:
- Your child’s teeth are not properly spaced.
- It helps your child deal with pain, including a painful ear or teething discomfort.
- It is a result of drug use or having a particular illness, such as cerebral palsy.
Some studies have also discovered a link between teeth clenching and grinding and sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, which is more common in adults.
A young children may not even have any reason to grind their teeth at night or while they sleep. However, for some children, stress or fear following a traumatic event or significant life event may cause them to grind their teeth.
Toddler grinding teeth and autism
Children who grind their teeth more frequently have a higher prevalence of autism, a developmental illness defined by severe communication difficulties. This habit can have an adverse effect on occlusion, mastication, speech, appearance, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Toddler grinding teeth autism may resemble stimming. Self-stimulation, also known as stimming, is occasionally used by people with autism and/or sensory processing disorder (SPD) as a coping mechanism to control their emotions and calm down.
If your child struggles with this, an occupational therapist may assess their requirements and put together a “sensory diet” of activities to help consistent self-regulation all day. An oral fidget or chew toy may gradually take the place of the propensity to grind one’s teeth.
Grinding teeth toddler and sleep
Toddler grinding teeth when asleep? Grinding your teeth while you sleep is referred to as bruxism.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), teeth grinding is more common in kids because their jaw muscles contract when they sleep.
Grinding could occur if the jaw is contracted too firmly. If it happens while your child is sleeping, it usually happens involuntarily, which means that they are not even aware of what they are doing. It can, however, be loud enough for you to hear it.
Babies’ teeth tend to grind more frequently during the second stage of sleep, referred to as REM. Usually, a youngster who grinds their teeth does not wake up during an episode.
Effects of toddler teeth grinding
Photo by Singkham
Most of the time, grinding one’s teeth is not damaging. Because they don’t yet have adult teeth, children under the age of six who grind their teeth won’t suffer long-term effects, and it normally ends as they get older.
You should consult a doctor or dentist if your child has passed the age of six and is still displaying symptoms of tooth grinding in order to find out what options you have for preventing any long-term damage to your child’s teeth and to determine what (if anything) may be causing the tooth grinding.
1. Behavioral Effects
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) stated that toddlers grinding teeth are likely to struggle in school and have a propensity for social disengagement.
According to the parent surveys, the same children who showed toddler grinding teeth when asleep at night also struggled to adjust to preschool, engaged with their friends less and were more reclusive in social situations.
According to a number of bruxism-related sleep studies, preschool-aged children who grind their teeth frequently may have trouble sleeping, which may be connected to their poor behaviors and social disengagement. Toddlers require 13 to 14 hours of sleep per night.
Treatment and home remedies for toddler teeth grinding
When older children grind their teeth and experience severe discomfort or dental misalignment as a result, a night guard is usually utilized to treat them. However, toddlers’ teeth are constantly changing, making it challenging for the guard to fit comfortably.
Image from Shutterstock
One “treatment” you shouldn’t use if you hear your child grinding their teeth is to wake them up. This may exacerbate symptoms and prevent your youngster from getting a good night’s sleep.
For young toddlers who grind their teeth, the typical approach is to do nothing. If you believe that stress or concern may be a contributing issue, you can try to establish a more rigid schedule with your child.
Home remedies for toddler teeth grinding
- Try massage therapy and stretching exercises to relax the muscles of your toddler.
- Make sure your child consumes enough water throughout the day. Dehydration and teeth grinding may be connected,
- Avoid or consume moderation: of caffeinated foods and beverages like colas, chocolate, and coffee.
- Avoid consuming alcohol. Grinding frequently gets worse after drinking.
- Take care not to chew on pencils, pens, or other non-food things. Avoid chewing gum as it increases the likelihood of tooth grinding and leads to more frequent jaw clenching.
- Teach your toddler not to grind or clench their teeth. If you find that your toddler clench or grind their teeth at school, theach them to place the tip of their tongue in between their teeth. They can relax their jaw muscles while they sleep by placing a warm towel on their cheek directly in front of their earlobe.
When should you see a doctor for toddler grinding teeth?
If you find your child grinding their teeth most days of the week, schedule a dental appointment. Your child’s teeth will be examined by the dentist to look for signs of wear, such as chipped enamel or teeth that appear cracked or fractured. The main reason for your child’s teeth grinding may be revealed by the dentist by checking for dental misalignment as well.
Even though teeth grinding in toddlers is normally not hazardous, arrange an appointment with their dentist if you have any worries.