Back in May, we flew to London to visit my family for a month. Both my kids (almost 4 and almost 2) still sleep next to us, so in London, we had the same set up. About ten days into our trip, I started hearing a terrible noise that I recognized very well- the sound of teeth grinding. Only this time, it was not coming from my husband- it was coming from my 3.5 year old daughter.
I was in shock. My husband had been grinding his teeth for years before we met due to his top and bottom teeth being misaligned, so he had invisalign fitted to correct it. Thankfully, two years after his first appointment, he was grind free.
But my daughter? She’s got a great bite! So I started researching on the internet, and realized this was more common than I thought. Teeth grinding/clenching, or bruxism, can happen to both children and adults, and it is estimated that over 30% of children under the age of 6 grind their teeth at night. Have you heard your child doing it? It’s a shocker when you do. Most websites confirm that no-one knows the exact reason behind children doing this-
No one knows exactly why children grind their teeth but considerations include improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, illnesses and other medical conditions (such as nutritional deficiencies, pinworm, allergies, endocrine disorders), and psychological factors including anxiety and stress. (WebMD)
It’s known to be common when children get their first teeth or when they are stressed at school/home. As we were staying in a new place, and my husband had had to return to the States for work, I was fairly certain this was causing her anxiety. When I put her to sleep, she’d say “Please mommy, keep your eyes open, okay?” which is something she’d never ask at home. So, I started talking to her at night before bed, and trying to reassure her how safe she was. It did not help. For the remaining three weeks, she still kept grinding. And always asking me to keep my eyes open at night.
Thankfully, about two weeks after we returned back from our vacation to our own home, she stopped. Although we didn’t need to do anything specifically, here are some tips from webMD if you’re worried about your child grinding their teeth.
Specific tips to help a child stop grinding his or her teeth include:
Decrease your child’s stress, especially just before bed.
Try massage and stretching exercises to relax the muscles.
- Make sure your child’s diet includes plenty of water. Dehydration may be linked to teeth grinding.
- Ask your dentist to monitor your child’s teeth if he or she is a grinder.
- No intervention is usually required with preschool-age children. However, older children may need temporary crowns or other methods, such as a night guard, to prevent the grinding.
Does your child grind their teeth? Leave us a comment and let us know!