Have you ever heard of bruxism? The teeth grinding process is known as bruxism. If you often ponder about this common question, “Why do babies grind their teeth at night,” then you’re at the right place.
If you consider asking your granny, they might tell you the reason as intestinal worms. But, you need to learn the cause and look for preventive measures.
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Why do babies grind their teeth at night?
Teeth grinding in children is prevalent up to the age of 5 years. It might be on a weaker level but can also increase due to various psychological or systematic factors.
Babies often grind their teeth at night as a natural reaction to the pain from teething.
I’m sure you want to know the reasons and ways to prevent teeth grinding to help your baby have a good night’s sleep.
In this post, we will talk about:
- What is Bruxism?
- Why does bruxism occur?
- How to find out if your child grinds their teeth at night?
- Prevention methods
Let’s understand the process and discover ways to help you with it.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a medical condition where babies grind their teeth during the day or at night. It doesn’t only affect babies but can occur in children and adults too. If you’ve never been a teeth grinder before, you still can be one later in life.
During the first few months, the babies experience a fair amount of body changes. Teething is one notable change you can see. A little discomfort might occur while the baby is developing teeth. It often happens when the babies are sleeping or under stress.
Causes of teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding can happen for multiple factors. It takes time for all the teeth to develop. Ofcourse, all teeth don’t grow at once. As your baby eats, it gets unstable as babies don’t have enough teeth to support the food. Another cause is due to unaligned teeth. If your baby is under the teething process, they might subconsciously be grinding their teeth to comfort the pain and uneasiness. Most children stop scraping after losing their baby teeth.
Why do babies grind their teeth at night? since they are at ease during this time and teeth clenching could also be due to malnutrition, parasitic or digestive diseases, or allergies.
Kids experiencing stress, nervousness, or anger can also exhibit traits of bruxism. A child worrying about a school test or hyperactive nature leading to fights with friends or an argument with parents could lead to teeth grinding or clenching of the jaw. If your child is under any medications, it could also result in bruxism.
If you or your partner have a habit of teeth grinding, it’s more likely for your child to have it. It’s common to have it due to neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy.
About 1 in 3 people grind their teeth. For adults, the causes could be stress, anger, or hyperactive behavior. Consumption of alcohol or tobacco can also lead to bruxism in adults.
How to find out if your child grinds their teeth at night?
It’s hard to know what pain our infant is going through. Kids aren’t aware of their grinding, so it’s our duty as parents to recognize their discomfort. You’ll probably be able to hear some teeth rubbing or scraping sounds. You might wonder, whether I should wake up my baby from a long nap?
Here are a few symptoms you can look out for:
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
- Loud grinding
- Damaged teeth
- Jaw pain while chewing
- Earache or headache near temples
If the grinding continues, you must take your child for a dentist visit. The dentist will help you examine the causes of your baby’s habit, whether it is because of misalignment or stress. The doctor will test for any enamel chipping or wear and tear and check for any unusual teeth or gum sensitivity.
Your dentist might ask your kid a few questions:
- What are your eating habits before head?
- Do you experience any pain?
- Are you angry with your friends or parents about anything?
- Are you stressed about your homework or anything at school?
The dentist will examine the situation based on tests and answers your child gives and provide the necessary treatment.
How to prevent the child from grinding teeth at night?
Most kids get rid of teeth grinding or clenching as they grow. But proper parental observation and dental checkups are mandatory until the time the situation goes away forever.
Here are a few steps you can take to take better care of your child’s grinding habits:
- If the cause is stress, talk to your child before bedtime and help him ease out even in a stroller.
- Practice massage or recommended exercise for relief
- Drinking plenty of water before sleeping
- Use of natural rubber tethers (ice, wooden, or rubber) to provide comfort.
- Silicone teething necklaces for hands-free chewing.
- Placing a warm towel on a child’s cheeks.
- Preventing your baby to chew on pens or pencils.
- Do not allow your child to chew gum during the day.
- Application of SS crown
- Regular dental checkups
- Practice nighttime cuddling or reciting poems or stories to avoid any stress.
- Let the child bite into cucumber, celery, fresh carrots, or an apple before sleep- this prevents jaw muscle contraction.
Grinding or jaw clenching is very common in children. It could happen due to stress or anxiety, but the most common reason is developing teeth in children. Although this is a common concern for parents, it should not be avoided.
If the situation worsens depending upon the factors mentioned above, run to a dentist and get the necessary treatment.
Dear parents, if you still worry about “why do babies grind their teeth at night,” I’m sure you’ve got your answers and the necessary preventive measures. So worry no more 🙂