You love watching your kid while he sleeps. He looks so peaceful — a far cry from the bundle of boundless energy he is while still awake.
But one night, you hear a weird noise inside his bedroom. You look around yet you can’t find the source of the weird noise. You turn your attention to your kid and see his jaw clenched, his teeth grinding in his sleep.
What’s happening here?
Your child is grinding his teeth. For parents of kids who grind their teeth, this may seem like a major cause of concern.
Grinding of teeth, or bruxism, is fairly common among preteens. And in most instances, this condition does not pose any long-term harm to children. In this instance, family members are more concerned about the noise that grinding teeth make.
However, there are some cases wherein children who suffer from bruxism exhibit symptoms like headaches and earaches. Bruxism can also lead to a few dental problems like worn teeth enamel, chipped teeth, and sensitivity to temperature extremes. In extreme cases, bruxism can lead to facial pain and even temporomandibular joint disease or TMJ. However, these cases are rare.
Why is your child grinding his teeth?
Medical and dental experts are still stumped as to the real reason why people, including kids, grind their teeth while sleeping.
However, experts suggest a few reasons behind the condition.
One contributing factor to this condition is stress. Preteens, in particular, are vulnerable to the changes they undergo in various facets of their young lives, from physical to social and psychological changes.
If you notice that your child has begun grinding his teeth or is grinding his teeth more often, it may indicate that he is undergoing more stress.
Here, you would want to talk to your child about school and any possible stresses they may be experiencing. Your goal here is to let him know that you are there to provide him with support and encouragement. You can also teach your kid a relaxing bedtime routine to minimize the grinding of teeth. It can be as simple as taking a nice warm shower or listening to soothing music before turning in for bed. Bedtime stretching routines can also be a good way to settle down.
You should also inform your child’s dentist about his bruxism. The dentist will then check whether the teeth grinding is causing damage to your child’s teeth or jaws. The dentist may recommend the use of devices like a bite plate if he or she detects signs of early damage.