I hear my child grinding their teeth at night. Is that normal?
"Sounds as bad as nails on a chalkboard!"
Grinding/clenching is not just an adult issue. Studies estimate that 2 out of 10 kids engage in grinding/clenching their teeth. Most kids outgrow this fairly quickly but let’s talk about when one should be concerned.
Possible causes for grinding/clenching -
Pain in other parts of the face/jaw
Hazards of grinding -
Increased sensitivity of teeth
Jaw pain/TMJ pain
Pain in the muscles of the face and jaw
Tips to help your child -
Practice good sleep hygiene - We talked about this in a previous post about snoring habits in kids. A consistent sleep schedule can help reduce stress and prevent grinding at night time. This applies to adults as well.
If the enamel is chipping due to a persistent grinding habit, a night guard can be made by your dentist. This would act as a buffer between the top and bottom teeth, thus preventing fractures of teeth or fillings and also jaw soreness.
If the cause of grinding is an abnormal bite, an orthodontist can be consulted to fix the bite.
Preliminary research suggests a connection between nighttime grinding and sleep apnea. It is worthwhile to rule out sleep apnea when a child is grinding excessively.
Do you clench/grind your teeth? The pandemic has everyone gritting their teeth! Let’s get vaccinated and reclaim our lives :)