Our 4-year old grinds his teeth at night. Should we be concerned? Is there anything we can do to prevent it? Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common childhood problem. Three out of 10 children grind or clench their teeth at night. Usually the cause is unknown. Stress, malocclusion (misalignment of teeth) and pain (from tooth eruption or ear aches) may play a role. Bruxism usually resolves on its own without any permanent harm. In some cases, however, it can result in tooth sensitivity or damage to tooth enamel. Because bruxism is most common between 3-6 years of age, it rarely affects the permanent teeth. In some cases, bruxism may extend into adulthood. If a child has bruxism, he may benefit from relaxation techniques to help him cope with stress or anxiety. It is also important to mention this to his dentist at his next dental exam. Although adults who suffer from bruxism often wear mouth guards at night, these are not typically used in young children.
Rhonda Patt is a pediatrician at Charlotte Pediatric Clinic and the mother of 3 adorable children. Follow her on Twitter @mommy_doc.
Can I stop teeth grinding for my four-year old?
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