You check on your sleeping child. You love to see her sweet innocent face as she slumbers. You wonder what she might be dreaming. Suddenly your thoughts are interrupted by a disturbing sound coming from your child’s mouth. She is grinding her little teeth. Is this normal? Should you worry?
Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding or gnashing. It is not uncommon in children and some reports suggest that three out of every 10 kids grind while sleeping. No one is quite sure what causes the troublesome condition. Although stress or hyperactivity may cause Bruxism in some cases, most often there is not a direct cause.
The good news for parents is that most children will outgrow this grinding phase by the time they reach adolescence. Additionally, most cases do not have any adverse effects. In some extreme cases, headaches or ear aches may occur. Also, in some circumstances, the gnashing and clenching may wear tooth enamel down, chip teeth, or increase temperature sensitivity. But remember, these are rare outcomes.
If your child is a grinder, bring her in to see us. We can check for chipping, wear and tear, and check for unusual sensitivity. In extreme cases where the grinding causes the child’s face to be sore, or teeth to be damaged, a mouth guard may be recommended.