You might have gotten fairly accustomed to the rhythmic sucking sounds of your baby falling asleep with a pacifier. But when you wean them off the pacifier, you might be surprised to hear some new, unidentifiable noises come from your child’s mouth when he or she is sleeping. The cause of this noise is actually quite common in toddlers and preschoolers, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

Teeth Grinding, Also Known as Bruxism

You’ve probably heard of this problem in adults, and then it’s often attributed to stress, teeth that don’t fit together properly or TMJ, and we know it can cause damage to adult teeth. But these aren’t typical problems for children under five. There are other things that could be the culprits of bruxism:

  • A child can be used to the feel of moving their mouth around, and somewhat chewing on, their pacifier, and they are replacing that routine with teeth grinding.
  • It can be the result of an ear infection.
  • It can be the result of teething.

Even in Young Children, Teeth Grinding Can Be Related to Stress

Bruxism can be caused by stress. We tell our parents to be aware of moodiness, clinginess, changes in eating or sleeping habits, or any other changes in behavior. You may be able to eliminate some of the things that trigger stress in your child, for example, making sure you are sticking to their routines, but adding some extra attention before bed.

Bruxism Usually Doesn’t Damage Children’s Teeth

That’s because the teeth grinding usually goes away before all the permanent teeth are in. In fact, most kids stop teeth grinding by about five or six, without their parents or dentist having to do anything. However, some kids continue to suffer from bruxism into adolescence and even adulthood.

Find Out What the Dentist Thinks

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, talk to the dentist. This is especially important if your child hasn’t had his or her first dental exam yet. Depending on your child’s age and the severity of the bruxism, the dentist may prescribe a mouth guard. Call for an appointment today: (800) 717-KIDS

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