8. Tooth Grinding

Bruxism is the medical expression for teeth grinding. The pressure between the upper and lower jaw while sleeping or under stress.

Noises in the night:

Sound asleep you all of a sudden hear a rattling noise that wakes you up. You listen carefully and after examination you, surprised, find out it is coming from your child’s bedroom. Expecting the worst you run in to your child’s room and stop in your tracks. Your childs teeth are grinding aggressively but she or he is still sound asleep.

Bruxism is the medical expression for teeth grinding. The pressure between the upper and lower jaw while sleeping or under stress. Originating from the Greek word “brychein” (meaning as much as grinding teeth) Bruxismus displays a common child behaviour aspect. Bruxism is not triggered by one specific factor. Some children grind their teeth on account of having their upper and lower jaw not closing properly. Other children grind their teeth as a pain converter with tooth problems and earaches- However generally children grind their teeth due to stress. If your child ever becomes nervous in front of a class test or nervous due to family affairs the risk of Bruximus for a child increases exponentially.

If you discover that your child has a teeth-grinding problem visit a paediatric dentist. The paediatric dentists then examine whether the enamel from the occlusal surface on his or her teeth is ground off or if your child has any orthopaedic problems. The dentist then also judges if the loss of tooth substance or sensitivity came down as a psychological influence on the child. Then the dentist is able to decide on the right treatment plan. For example, if a permanent tooth has been harmed. A mouth guard could be constructed, especially in children older than 9 years old. The mouth guard is able to protect the teeth from further damage and help prevent facial or temporo-mandibular joint pain. The mouth guard would be custom-made for the individual and the child would have to use it during sleep.

You could also help your child to put an end to this habit by doing the following:

  • Speak to your child and find out if there is anything you can do to help with the problem your child is facing
  • Let your child have a warm bath or shower before going to bed
  • Play calm and pleasant music when your child goes to bed
  • Read a story from his or her favourite book
  • Find something interesting for your child to do as part or the daily routine before going to bed

Most children stop this habit as they become teenagers. When you go out of the way to help your child, the child will most definitely grow out of this habit. Do not worry too much; these noises in the night will not go on forever!