Why children grinds their teeth?

ENT Facts by Associate Professor Dr David McIntosh- Paediatric and adult upper airway specialist

Teeth grinding in children

Dr. Wei Shen

Teeth grinding in children

Does your child grind their teeth at night? Did you realise this is not a normal thing to do? Teeth grinding is classified as a type of sleep disorder called parasomnia (para-som-knee-a). Historical teaching was that teeth grinding was related to psychological stress. The problem with this is that it is hard to think what little kids have going on their life that they could be under such pressure (it is not like they have the worries of a mortgage and their girlfriend finding out they have been cheating on them!). So with new knowledge there are new approaches, and one of the big factors in many children that grind their teeth is problems with breathing at night (now this is something that would be stressful!).

So what’s this got to do with dentistry?

Historically, dentists would approach teeth grinding in children by protecting the teeth from damage as much as they could by prescribing a mouth guard to be worn at night. Now we screen children for airway problems, and make sure a paediatric airway specialist consultation is arranged, where necessary. Research has shown that by addressing any underlying airway problems, close to 80% of children will stop grinding their teeth almost immediately. This is what we call holistic care, and it is just part of the service we provide for you and your treasured little ones in Noosa area in Sunshine Coast.

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