Grinding teeth is also called bruxism and is done by both adults and children. Where does it come through, is it dangerous and what can you do about it?
It is estimated that 1 in 5 children suffer from teeth grinding, both boys and girls. That is when the parents have heard or seen it, because children often do not realize that they are doing it. In children, grinding teeth is most common between the ages of three and twelve, after that grinding often subsides automatically. However, some children start as soon as the first upper and lower teeth are visible.
What exactly happens with teeth grinding?
The upper and lower teeth are sanded over each other – sometimes light, sometimes quite powerful. Usually the grinding happens unconsciously at night while sleeping, but there are also children who do it during the day. In that case it is much more a conscious activity, often as a result of feelings of anger or powerlessness. Grinding teeth is a habit – or a tic, if you like – that is often linked to tension.
What causes the teeth grinding?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to that question. It seems to be a combination of factors, including changes in the brain, tension and stress. As mentioned, grinding is a way for some children (and adults) to get rid of tension. It can also be because the teeth do not fit well together. Finally, talent also plays a role: if one of the parents grinds, it is more likely that a child will also suffer from it.
Is grinding teeth dangerous for the teeth?
In principle not, provided that it is not very extreme. If you see that gums or tooth enamel is affected or if pieces of teeth break off, it is very wise to go to the dentist.
Usually children naturally grow over the grinding teeth without really damaging their teeth. In addition, grinding teeth, especially due to pressure on the jaws, can lead to headache, jaw pain, ear pain and pain in the neck and / or shoulders.
What can you do yourself against grinding your teeth?
There are a few things that you can use that are effective against teeth grinding to a greater and lesser extent. A 'simple' way is to try to remove the tension of a child before going to sleep as much as possible, for example by reading a story, taking a warm bath, chatting a bit (especially about things that may cause tension) – everything to remove any tension that has been built up during the day as much as possible.
To the dentist
If the grinding happens because the teeth do not fit properly or another problem with the teeth, the dentist can come up with a good solution in the form of a brace or a bit.