Do you ever hear sounds like a wild animal gnashing its teeth from the bedroom of your sleeping child?
No worries. Sometimes those sounds, like wild animals, are normal in a child’s tooth development. And while teeth grinding may not sound like the healthiest of noises to come out of your child's mouth, there's generally little to worry about, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
1. Why do kids grind their teeth? Does the answer change depending on the age of the child?
Children exhibiting teeth grinding is very common, especially children under age 6. A lot of children will stop grinding once their six-year permanent molars erupt. The eruption of permanent teeth begins to establish the permanent bite.
Prior to this, children's bites are very flexible and subject to changes as they grow. Occasionally, children will exhibit an abnormal bite causing them to grind because of the placement of their teeth.
2. Could it be stress-related? Do children grind their teeth for some of the same reasons adults might grind their teeth?
Stress related grinding in students of middle school/high school is more common, especially during exam periods. Grinding in children below age 6 is etiologic (no know reason), but could be correlated with sleep disorders.
3. What should parents do if their child is grinding his or her teeth?
If baby teeth are still present, no intervention is necessary. If significant grinding occurs after age 6, a plan may need to be devised to prevent wear on the permanent teeth.
4. What should parents look out for?
Parents may notice wear patterns on the teeth, but your dentist will notice these as well and recommend treatment when appropriate.
5. How common is teeth-grinding?
It is very common in children less than 6 years of age. Adults can grind as well, but this may be more stress related and traditional night guards can be fabricated to prevent wear. According to some studies, there could be a correlation between children grinding their teeth and sleeping disorders.