It's not unusual for children to grind their teeth during sleep. It’s actually a common problem, and it often goes away on its own within a few years. In children, teeth grinding is often a subconscious reaction to stress or anxiety (just like it is in adults). In most cases, there is no underlying medical condition causing it, but you will want to make sure of that because, if there is, you will want to address that as well.
If your child is old enough that they have some of their adult teeth, you will also want to take steps to protect your children’s adult teeth until their teeth grinding has subsided (note: sometimes teeth grinding does not go away with time).
The first step is to assess whether you have an issue. Let us go over some guidelines for figuring out what you should look for, and then we can review advice for what you can do if your child has a teeth grinding problem.
Ways You Can Tell If Your Child Has Bruxism:
Note: If you or your partner has a history of grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism) your kids have a greater chance of developing the habit. But, even though genetics do play a role in the appearance of teeth grinding, your child can still develop the habit even if you never have.
- Look for signs that your child is experiencing tooth sensitivity. Teeth grinding often causes increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or to pressure on the teeth.
- Notice whether your child complains of headaches or seems to carry a lot of tension in the jaw and sides of the neck. Carrying stress there often contributes to bruxism.
- If you suspect your kid is grinding their teeth, listen to your child while they are sleeping. Teeth grinding happens intermittently because it occurs more during certain parts of the sleep cycle than others. So, spend some time sitting by your sleeping child on a number of occasions and see if you hear anything.
- Notice whether your child grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw while awake. If they do, there’s a good chance they do so while sleeping as well.
What to Do If You Find Your Child Grinds Their Teeth:
- If your child grinds his or her teeth during sleep and is young enough that they go to bed with a bottle or pacifier, the first thing you should do is stop the bottle/pacifier routine. That ritual is helping your child associate a form of eat, sucking, or jaw movement with falling asleep. You want to break that association as early as possible.
- Play soothing music to put your child to bed. It can help to relax the body and mind, so your child will be less likely to experience tension or stress. You can also consider using a white noise machine in your child’s room. A white noise machine can help children (and adults) sleep better because it masks noises that may disturb sleep, such as a barking dog or a loud neighbor. Teeth grinding happens less when you can maintain a deep sleep.
- Visit an orthodontist to check your child’s bite and alignment. Sometimes, teeth grinding occurs because teeth are not matching up well within the mouth when the jaw shuts. If your child’s bite is slightly off or certain teeth are sitting at odd angles and not fitting together well, your child will grind their teeth more (and do more damage to those teeth over time). Braces and other orthodontic procedures can significantly help if this is a problem for your child.
- Invest in a night guard. If your child has some of their adult teeth and they grind their teeth a lot, you will want to do everything you can to protect those teeth for the many years ahead. It might take a little while for your kid to get used to a night guard (also called a mouth guard), but it will be well worth it for the long-term health of those adult teeth.
Get Your Child a Custom Night Guard
A night guard is a simple plastic guard to protect your child’s teeth from the impact and abrasion caused by teeth grinding. It will be necessary to get your child a night guard that fits as seamlessly as possible so that they transition easily to wearing it every night.
At TeethNightGuard, we make all of our night guards based on molds of our clients’ teeth so that you get the best possible fit. Customers receive a kit to take a simple impression of their teeth, mail back the impression, and receive their custom night guard in the mail. It couldn’t get easier.
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HARD ACRYLIC 2MM -3MM DENTAL NIGHT GUARD - HARD AND RIGID GUARD(CUSTOMIZATION AVAILABLE ON ORDER PAGE TO SELECT THICKNESS)
Item Number HARDMG Manufacturer Sparkling White Smiles Dental Lab Rating Product Description 2mm - 3mm Hard Acrylic Professionally made Custom Night Guard Our Custom Teeth Night Guards are BPA, Latex and Phthalate Free Night Guard designed for severe teeth grinding/bruxism. This Night Guard… Read More