What To Do When Baby Grinding Teeth?
Bruxism is a common occurrence in some infants. Luckily, it is usually harmless and naturally temporary, eventually resolving on its own. Infants typically do not require the use of measures like night guards, which are commonly used by adults to prevent teeth grinding, due to their early stages of growth and development.
The sound of tooth grinding in infants is common and will decrease as they grow and develop more teeth. If you are concerned about your baby’s teeth grinding, it would be helpful to speak with a pediatric dentist. They have the knowledge to provide personalized guidance and ensure your child’s teeth and jaw are not harmed.
If you notice your baby grinding their teeth, it may be helpful to offer them a teething toy to chew on. Try different options to determine the most effective choice.
- Vulli’s Sophie the Giraffe is a popular natural rubber teething toy that offers a soothing and gentle sensation. These toys do not contain any harmful substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA).
- Nuby Soother Rings and other ice teethers contain a chilled liquid that helps relieve discomfort caused by emerging teeth.
- Maple Teethers, like these wooden teething toys, have a gentle texture and are free from harmful chemicals. In addition, their antimicrobial properties are a natural benefit.
- Silicone teething necklaces, like Chewbeads, can provide relief for babies experiencing teething discomfort by allowing them to chew without using their hands while on the go.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a common issue that affects individuals of all age groups, including young people. The condition is characterized by the grinding, clenching, or gnashing of the teeth. In young children, this activity typically occurs unconsciously, taking place without their awareness. When children grind their teeth while awake, it is referred to as awake bruxism. In contrast, when individuals clench or grind their teeth while sleeping, it is known as sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism in children is commonly associated with other sleep-related conditions like snoring or sleep apnea.
Why do Kids Grind Their Teeth?
When a baby or young child grinds their teeth, it may be due to their exploration of mouth functions or an attempt to relieve teething discomfort. Persistent occurrences of bruxism in children may stem from various factors such as anxiety, stress, frustration, or even involuntary habits during periods of deep concentration. Anxiety is one factor that can contribute to sleep bruxism, but there are also other factors, such as sleep apnea interruptions, that can cause teeth grinding during sleep, which can affect both adults and children. Other potential risks for teeth grinding in children include:
- Age: Teeth grinding is a common habit observed in many children during their younger years, which typically decreases naturally as they reach adolescence.
- Medications: Certain medications, including those prescribed for ADHD treatment, may increase the likelihood of children experiencing teeth grinding.
- Genetics: Sleep bruxism can be inherited through family.
- Other Disorders: Teeth grinding in children can be associated with various conditions and concerns, such as sleep apnea, epilepsy, night terrors, and ADHD.
What Problems Can Happen?
Bruxism is a condition that is sometimes disregarded and has limited consequences in certain cases. However, the primary annoyance usually impacts other members of the household because of the unpleasant noise generated during grinding.
However, there are situations when it may lead to:
- worn down tooth enamel or chipped teeth
- sensitive teeth
- face, ear, or jaw pain
How Is Bruxism Diagnosed?
The habit of grinding teeth is often unnoticed by the affected children themselves, but it can be observed by attentive siblings or parents.
Here are some signs to be aware of:
- noises of friction when your child rests
- experiencing jaw or facial discomfort upon waking up in the morning is a common complaint
- experiencing discomfort while chewing
If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with the dentist. During the appointment, the dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of the teeth, looking for any signs of chipped enamel or abnormal wear. To assess sensitivity, a combination of air and water sprays will be used.
To determine the cause of teeth grinding, the dentist may ask about possible factors like misaligned teeth or stress through a series of questions.