Kids grinding teeth in sleep otherwise known as bruxism is a subject that often crops up in our practice. In fact, one of the questions that we’re often asked is “What causes a child to grind his teeth at night?”
Well… we don’t know for certain.
If you hear your child grinding their teeth at night then don’t be alarmed. Teeth grinding or bruxism is surprisingly common in children; so much so that many parents regard bruxism as a normal part of growing up.
There are many physical and psychological reasons which can lead to bruxism in children. The bruxism may be due to misaligned teeth, anxiety, or even narrow airway passages. Another possible cause of teeth grinding in children is parasites. Yes, we know it doesn’t sound very nice, but it’s something that parents should be aware of.
How To Stop A Child From Grinding Their Teeth At Night?
Before we can stop kids grinding teeth in sleep we need to determine the underlying cause of their bruxism and be able to recognise the symptoms and signs.
Kids Grinding Teeth In Sleep – Common Symptoms And Signs:
Loud crunching sound while asleep
Uneven wear on teeth
Dark circles beneath their eyes
Irritability and lack of concentration
Sleepy in the afternoon
Two of the most likely causes of bruxism in children are airway issues and digestive parasites. When parasites are the cause of teeth grinding it should never be ignored since the problem will only get worse.
Kids Grinding Teeth In Sleep – Why Do Worms Cause Teeth Grinding?
Various studies have taken place with the purpose of researching the relationship between digestive parasites (worms) and bruxism. Although the research is not conclusive at this time, it’s been suggested that bruxism is more prevalent in children who have intestinal parasites; although it can’t be said for certain that parasites actually cause bruxism.
What is known, however, is that the brain and gut are closely connected via the vagus nerve. Therefore it seems that the presence of toxic invaders may cause the brain to trigger teeth grinding in children.
Infections of this sort often occur alongside other symptoms such as allergies, food sensitivities, and nutrient deficiencies. When parasites such as pinworms, tapeworms, and roundworms gain entry into the digestive system they release small toxic molecules which affect the body and may trigger a bout of bruxism.
Parasite infection is more common than you may think because hands, water, toys, and dirt are all common sources of worms. Children are more likely to get worms than adults because they habitually put dirty toys or hands in their mouth and bite their nails.
Nail biting is one of the most common reasons for a child ending up with worms. If your child nibbles their nails and grinds their teeth, then we’d advise you to do all you can to stop the habit.
How To Stop Grinding Teeth In Sleep Naturally
1. First, take your youngster to the dentist for a nasal airway and sleep disorder focussed dental examination. If neither of these things can be linked to their bruxism then it’s time to delve deeper.
2. Secondly, ask your doctor to carry out a parasite test. If the test is positive your child may need anti-worm medication.
3. Feed your child a healthy diet which includes plenty of vitamins A, B, and K2 which help to strengthen the immune system and stave off worm infection.
Over time, bruxism and teeth grinding in children can cause the teeth to erode and if it’s not halted in its tracks, it can cause permanent damage and impact on the dental pulp. More importantly, if teeth grinding is as a result from worms, then the infection could lead to other health complications.
If you have any questions relating to bruxism and your child then please bring them to see the friendly dental team at Evergreen Dental. Teeth grinding treatment may involve your child wearing a nightguard when they sleep. Call today on (02) 8074 3849 for a bruxism consultation.