Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth When Sleeping?
Children grinding their teeth while sleeping can be a concern for parents, especially if they’re not sure what’s causing the issue. Teeth-grinding is also known as Bruxism, and is a common occurrence among children, although the causes can vary.
It has been found that two to three children out of ten suffer from bruxism, but what causes the problems isn’t always clear.
Some children may become tense when in pain, which can be a contributing factor. Another reason could be due to the misalignment of the teeth.
In more serious incidents, it could be an after-effect of medication, or the child could be suffering from cerebral palsy.
Even something as simple as a chaotic bedtime schedule can be enough to cause children to grind their teeth at night.
Whatever the cause, it stands to reason that parents and guardians will want some form of resolution in place to ensure that children are comfortable, and not wearing their teeth down.
Even if there’s the faintest chance that your child could be grinding their teeth when sleeping, it’s worthwhile carrying out some further checks to ascertain whether professional help will be needed.
Finding Out If Your Child Suffers from Bruxism
When determining as to whether your child has bruxism or not, there is no cookie cutter solution that can be applied in every instance. If you notice signs of grinding teeth, then the first approach should be to check in on them throughout the night or set up some form of recording device to see whether bruxism is occurring.
Children suffering from headaches, facial pain and jaw problems can all be signs that children could be grinding their teeth when sleeping.
What to Do If Your Feel Your Child Has Bruxism
If you’ve noticed signs of bruxism, then you need to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible so an expert can give a more in-depth diagnosis.
The methods used to stop bruxism will depend on the cause. For example, if your child has a lot of anxiety or suffers from cerebral palsy, then the problem may need to be referred to a doctor. However, in other instances, the use of a mouth guard can be beneficial.
The dentist you visit may want to schedule some appointments moving forward to ensure that there is no further damage to the tooth enamel when working through bruxism.
It can also be worthwhile speaking to the school your child attends to see if there are any issues that could be causing them stress. This could include a falling out with a friend, or finding the homework being given too difficult.
Knowing what’s causing your children to grind their teeth can be a time-consuming process that upsets us, but these steps will lead you to the root of the problem, meaning that managing the situation moving forward is easier.
Further Treatments for Bruxism
The way in which bruxism is treated will depend on the age of the child. However, it can be worthwhile knowing about the methods available should it continue into later life.
Do Breathing Exercises Before Bed
Should a child be feeling anxious, it could lead them to grind their teeth at night. As such, it can be helpful to carry out some breathing exercises with your child to ensure they have a calmer demeanour when going to sleep.
The exercises don’t have to be too time-consuming, and can be as simple as the following:
Place the child somewhere comfortable and free of distraction and noise.
Ask them to breathe in deeply for a couple of seconds, and then exhale slowly afterwards. Some children may need to do this several times, whereas others may calm down straight away. The use of breathing can be relaxing and help unburden the stress that they may be feeling, thus meaning less teeth grinding in the night.
Avoid Fizzy Drinks or Treats Before Bed
Adults that suffer from bruxism are often asked to cut out caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. Some parents not consider a drink or treat before bed to be a cause of bruxism, but the ingredients can mean that children become hyperactive before bedtime.
A natural approach is often the best when it comes to snacks and beverages. For example, instead of a fizzy drink, why not offer the children a hot milky drink.
Massage the Child’s Jaw
Just as breathing exercises can help with the reduction of stress, massaging the child’s jaw can also be beneficial. Of course, this isn’t possible for very young children, but those old enough to understand the concept may find that their bruxism is reduced as a result.
As you can see, there is no clear-cut reason as to why children suffer from bruxism and dealing it with can be an unsettling time. However, discovering the cause of the bruxism allows parents and guardians to put strategies in place to manage the situation
It’s never nice to discover that some of the strategies we use could make it more likely for children to suffer from bruxism, but this is often the case in many situations. Parents can’t foresee these things, thus the recurring problem.
However, knowing what signs to look out for can ensure that there are fewer ramifications moving forward.