Do you have a child that complains about headaches, jaw pain, and trouble chewing? If so, the problem could be caused by your child grinding his or her teeth while they're sleeping. How can you know? Here, you'll learn a little about pediatric teeth grinding and what you can do to stop it.
Signs of Grinding
If you don't sleep with your child, you won't hear the grinding occurring, so it can go on for months, years even, without you knowing it.
As a parent, you won't be able to see the visible signs of grinding for quite a while. Listen to what your child is telling you. If he or she is complaining of jaw pain often, there's something going on that will need the attention of a dentist. It will take a long time before the damage will be so severe that you'll be able to see it with an untrained eye.
Cause of Grinding
More often than not, teeth grinding is usually a result of stress and anxiety. Kids might not even know that they're feeling as stressed about things as they are. School work, video games, social groups – these can all cause a great deal of stress for a kid to bear with.
Get a plate of cookies and a couple cups of milk – sit down and talk with your child about what's going on in their life. Don't push – just open the door to free conversation. When he or she does bring up something, try not to judge – just listen to what's going on and encourage him or her that things will get better.
If it seems that your child may be dealing with too much pressure, you'll want to talk with the pediatrician about working with a therapist. Learning how to manage stress now will not only help childhood years go more smoothly, but it will also help them as adults.
Since the grinding occurs mostly at night, you'll want to establish a very relaxing bedtime routine. Use some essential oils and maybe a breathing technique or two. As you read your child his or her bedtime story, hold his or her hand palm up, put a drop of a relaxing essential oil in the palm, and massage the hand, extending through the fingers.
Talk with your family dentist. He or she will be able to help identify any damage that's been done and recommend treatments that will effectively protect your child's teeth from further grinding damage.