Bruxism In Babies – Causes, Effects, Symptoms & Treatments

Written by Chhandita Chakravarty
Last Updated on

Being a mother gives you a unique power. The way you understand your baby’s body is nothing short of a miracle. Somehow, you are attuned to her needs, desires, and pain.

There is so much that is going on in your baby’s little world. But is the fact that she grinds her teeth something to worry about? If your instinct says it is, you better follow your gut.

Grinding teeth in babies (or Bruxism) is common. But it is often neglected. It is time you know what exactly is the reason behind your baby grinding her teeth.

What Is Bruxism:

Bruxism is a sleep disorder. Often you’ll find your baby grinding her teeth while asleep. The sound may grate your nerves, but it is important to unearth the reason behind it.

What Causes Bruxism In Babies?

The exact cause of teeth grinding in babies or bruxism is still unknown. But experts do have some possible suspects in mind.

1. Misaligned Teeth:

Many babies grind because their top and lower teeth are not properly aligned.

[ Read: Tongue Tied In Infants ]

2. Pain:

Some babies grind their teeth to find relief from pain. The pain may arise from an earache or teething.

3. Stress:

Stress is considered to be the biggest cause of bruxism in babies. Babies who internalize their feelings are more likely to suffer from bruxism (1) .

4. Second Hand Smoke:

Research has shown that babies who exposed to high level of second-hand smoke are more likely to grind their teeth (2) .

5. ADHD:

A large number of babies with ADHD have bruxism. The interesting point is that babies who take medication for their ADHD have an increased chance of bruxism (3) .

How Does Bruxism Effect Your Baby?

Many cases of bruxism go unnoticed and does not cause any harm. But in some cases it can lead to some adverse effects, including:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Chipped Teeth
  • Increased temperature sensitivity
  • Facial Pain
  • Jaw problems

[ Read: Impetigo In Babies ]

Symptoms Of Bruxism:

Many babies are completely unaware that they grind their teeth while asleep. But you will be able to discover the problem if you listen to her while she sleeps. Watch out for the following symptoms if you suspect bruxism:

  • Grinding sound as your baby sleeps
  • Sore jaw and face
  • Pain while chewing

If you discover these symptoms, it makes sense to see your doctor. The doctor will check your baby’s teeth for any damage. If she finds any damage, she’ll question your baby to get to the cause of bruxism. She’ll ask questions like ‘are you worried about something?’, ‘Are you angry?’ etc. This will help her diagnose the problem correctly.

Treating Bruxism:

The treatment plan for bruxism will depend on what is causing it. Fortunately, most babies outgrow this disorder without any long-term effect. But till then, it is important to keep an eye on the problem. If the nighttime grinding is wearing your baby’s teeth down, your doctor may prescribe a mouth guard. This will be a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but with time your baby will find relief from jaw and face pain.

Other ways of managing bruxism include:

1. Relaxing:

It is important that your baby is relaxed and calm before she goes to sleep. You can help her unwind by developing a soothing bedtime routine. Keep all negativity away and encourage your baby to read a book, or listen to some calming music. This should help her relax and prevent bruxism.

[ Read: Teething In Babies ]

2. Talk To Her:

If stress is what is causing your baby to grind her teeth, talk to her. Ask her about what’s in her mind. This way you will be in a better position to ease her stress and offer a solution.

3. Talk To An Expert:

If you think that your baby needs expert help to deal with stress, take it. Talk to your doctor about ways to help your baby deal with stress.

4. Prevent Exposure To Second Hand Smoke (SHS):

If SHS is playing a role in your baby’s bruxism, try and keep her away from it. If someone in your house smokes, ask them to smoke outside.

[ Read: Effect Of Smoking On Baby ]

5. Change Medication:

If your baby has ADHD and suffers from bruxism, you may reconsider medicating him. If he does need ADHD medication, talk to your doctor about changing the drug to prevent bruxism.

Most babies stop grinding their teeth once they lose their baby teeth. But some continue till adolescence. But the important thing to remember is that if stress is causing this problem, it won’t end until the stress ends. So, help your baby deal with the stresses of life. You need to make her understand that problems are a part of life and dealing with them is what makes you a winner!

Does your baby grinds his teeth? Have you tried finding a solution? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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