Are you experiencing teeth grinding in children?
If your child is making some pretty gruesome noises with their teeth while asleep, it’s probably due to what’s called “teeth grinding”. As the name suggests, your child is probably closing their jaw and grinding their teeth together.
Sometimes that will be in a vertical motion, in which case it may sound more like ‘teeth clicking’ than grinding. More commonly, their jaws will move in a chewing motion – hence the grinding noise.
What causes teeth grinding in children?
Sadly, it’s not really known.
In reality, there may be a large number of potential causes including:
- your child is cutting teeth and their gums are sore;
- they’re dreaming of something that involves chewing;
- it gives them a form of comfort;
- pain elsewhere.
No cause for immediate concern
The good news is that teeth grinding in children is virtually never cause to worry.
There are a huge number of myths on this subject, many going back a long way in time. Just a sample includes:
- it can damage the child’s teeth;
- it leads to sleeplessness – a variation on that is that it causes nightmares;
- crooked and irregular teeth/jawlines arise as a result;
- the child is basically unhappy or angry.
There is no evidence to support any of these or the many others like them.
The most common myths by far are those relating to damaging teeth but this is extremely rare and has only been seen in exceptionally severe cases.
There may be other conditions involved
There are a few other medical conditions that might lead to some teeth grinding in children by way of a typically secondary symptom.
They might include:
- sleep apnoea (a condition which leads to irregular breathing patterns, usually after heavy snoring);
- some forms of chest infection or other breathing issues;
- a bad cold leading to congestion.
In most cases, these conditions and others like them will manifest primary symptoms that are far more noticeable than teeth grinding. Examples might include loud snoring, gurgling or gasping sounds while the child is asleep, chest wheezing and so on.
Byford Child Care cannot offer medical advice or medical diagnoses. If your child is experiencing any of the above respiratory symptoms, you should consult your doctor for further specific advice and without delay.
Consulting a dentist
If you are concerned about teeth grinding in your children, you can consult a dentist.
Although the risk of real damage to their teeth is small, in severe cases they may be able to fit a dental appliance that will help protect the teeth. They might also give you advice as to whether a doctor’s consultation is advisable for any underlying conditions.
Prognosis for teeth grinding in children
The good news with this syndrome is that it is typically short-lived and usually resolves itself without the need for any intervention. It’s just a phase that many kids go through and something that quickly becomes a half-forgotten memory for most parents.
As always, Byford’s team is standing by to discuss any of these matters further with you. Just ask!