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Have you ever encountered that disturbing sound coming from the teeth of your kids while they are sound asleep? Do they often clench or grind their teeth unknowingly?
If you’re a parent who’s feeling uneasy about teeth grinding, too, we ought to know more about bruxism.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for the non-functional and habitual clenching or grinding of teeth. Bruxism in babies and toddlers produces a very disconcerting sound and usually happens when they are in a deep sleep, but could also occur when they are awake. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders describes bruxism as “a movement disturb related to sleep, characterized by repeated contractions of the masticatory mules”.
What Causes Bruxism In Babies And Toddlers?
According to the study “Sleep Bruxism in Children: Prevalence and Multidisciplinary Therapy”, sleep bruxism has a high incidence in children. Although the underlying cause is yet to be found, research shows that it may be correlated among one of the following factors:
1 – Eruption Of A New Tooth
Let’s take it to a lighter side. Infants’ first set of teeth appear at around 6 months of age. Being natural explorers, it is common for infants to discover new things using their mouth. Bruxism is often times associated with this factor, given that infants may tend to grind their teeth together due to the new sensation they’re feeling. Offering soothers, teethers or pacifiers may help you handle this problem.
2 – Anxiety And Stress
Babies and toddlers have different ways of reacting to anxiety and stress. Moving into a new home, first time to attend a preschool, or the first time to be away from parents can be sources of stress for both babies and toddlers. Bruxism is associated with these stressors, and parents would need to assess and address this problem with their kids.
3 – Hyperactivity
Do you have a toddler who can’t sit still for a minute? Hyperactive kids also tend to manifest bruxism during their sleep. Excessive activity during the day may be correlated to the nonfunctional movement of the jaws and muscles during the night. Parents can help decrease this problem by avoiding sweets as excessive amounts have been linked to hyperactivity. A calming massage might also work well in decreasing the excitability of their muscles.
4 – Link To Behavioral Problems
There are certain issues related to habitual bruxism. It is seen as a symptom of a much serious behavioral problem, however, sufficient studies have yet to be established regarding this correlation.
If bruxism in your babies and toddlers really bother you, paying a visit to a pediatrician would be of great help. Doctors can assess your kids, and assist you by providing options that would help reduce this problem.
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