Teeth grinding, or bruxism as it’s officially known, is a common habit in normal development and occurs in many infants and toddlers.
It’s suggested that babies may start to grind their teeth while sleeping as their teeth start to come in, at around the age of 6 months or older. It’s estimated that 3 out of 10 children will grind or clench their teeth and although bruxism is most common during the night, you may notice your infant displaying signs of it during the day, when they’re awake.
It’s interesting to note that toddlers whose parents have a history of bruxing at night are more prone to grinding their teeth. Sometimes, however, bruxism can be caused by anxiety, teeth misalignment or certain medical problems.
While hearing their child grind their teeth can be worrying for parents, most bruxism does not lead to any lasting damage.
The paediatric dentist will check for teeth grinding symptoms such as unusual wear and tear to their teeth which has resulted in cracks or chipped enamel, or even teeth that have broken. We will also check for teeth misalignment which could be the reason for their bruxism in the first place.
Most toddlers grow out of the grinding habit before they get their permanent teeth by the age of 6, without any intervention. If parents suspect their toddlers are feeling anxious about something, they could try establishing a more relaxing bedtime routine. In older children, we can consider fitting a night-guard. These are flexible, thin pieces of plastic that prevent any damage occurring to teeth that are rubbing together.
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