Is there a teeth gnashing monster in my child’s bedroom?
Nope, that nails-on-the-blackboard sound is your child grinding their teeth. Good news is, as horrible as it sounds; it is something your child will likely outgrow.
How common is teeth grinding?
It is very common in children under 7-8 years old. Many children will stop grinding once their first permanent molars erupt around age 6.
What causes it?
The cause of tooth grinding is not well known. Many children do this and this does not mean that they are stressed. Sometimes this is a natural expression of frustration until their vocabulary increases and they can verbally express their frustrations. Grinding may also come and go with seasonal changes for children who have seasonal allergies or chronic congestion. When congestion is present, children may grind their teeth to relieve inner ear pressure.
What can parents do to help if their child is grinding his or her teeth?
To help reduce congestion, parents can consider switching out down bedding products for foam substitutes which are less likely to harbor dust mites and fomites. Stuffed animals and other toys may be laundered to decrease allergens that cause congestion.
What will Dr. Mann do?
For grinding alone, usually little or no treatment is indicated. Dr. Mann will check for wear patterns on permanent teeth and recommend a mouth guard to protect the teeth from further wear if appropriate.