Intro Baby Grinding Teeth
On average, babies begin teething around six months old. After that, some are born with teeth (though rarely), while others may get their teeth in at four months or as late as twelve months. But six months seems to be the sweet spot for these little ones. While most babies will get their first tooth around six to twelve months in, one issue that many parents deal with besides fussy teething would be grinding. The sound of scraping teeth is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. It’s a sound that can make anyone cringe. But of course, babies don’t see it like that, and they may think it’s fun to feel the unusual sensations of grinding their teeth.
What is Bruxism?
Grinding teeth, also known as bruxism, usually starts around the baby's first birthday, but it can also happen during infancy. Bruxism usually disrupts your baby’s sleep, can create jaw pain, and can even have the potential to cause fractures. You may notice that your little one might cry in their sleep due to the discomfort that bruxism causes. In addition, as teeth first begin growing, it's common for bites to be reasonably unstable or uneven.
The baby may be in pain or feel uncomfortable from this, so they may react in their sleep. This could include easing the pain through teething or grinding. In addition, bruxism has been known for creating stress and pain, such as earaches and headaches.
Related: Babies and Thrush: Everything You Need to Know
What Causes are Baby Teeth Grinding at Night?
While baby teeth grinding can be something that's relatively common, doing it can strike an issue. So, what exactly is the cause for nightly teeth grinding? Like older kids and even adults, babies can get stressed. They could be stressed because of physical discomfort such as teething-related pain, or their teeth aren't aligned properly (known as malocclusion). In cases like this, your baby could be grinding their teeth in an act to try and do teething without anything being physically in their mouth. So, you don't immediately have to worry that your baby is grinding its teeth due to a nightmare, but instead, physically soothe itself.
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What Causes Baby Teeth Grinding During the Day?
If you're wondering why your baby is grinding their teeth in the middle of the day, there could be multiple reasons. For starters, similarly to grinding in their sleep, it could be due to dress such as pain or even a misalignment of their teeth or jaw. But there are more indicators of why a baby may be grinding their teeth in the daytime. For example, parents already know that babies are sensitive to caffeine. So mothers who are breastfeeding need to proceed with caution if consuming caffeine.
Foods such as chocolate, cola, coffee, and iced tea contain caffeine. These caffeinated foods and drinks can provoke teeth grinding. There could always be a chance of a neurological disorder, but that's incredibly rare, so it should be suspected immediately. Other causes such as
Stiffness (like TMD)
It could also be the cause of why your baby is grinding their teeth in the daytime.
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Complications: Does Tooth Grinding Damage Your Child’s Teeth?
Babies grinding their teeth is pretty standard, and it's a phrase that usually doesn't last too long. The tooth grinding usually stops well before they lose their baby teeth. So the chances of the teeth grinding causing damage to their little pearly white is slim to none. However, if the problem persists and you think this could be a severe issue, you could mention it to your doctor or take them to your dentist.
How to Prevent Baby From Grinding Their Teeth
Every parent must try to do what they can to soothe their little one. While teeth grinding isn't such a big deal, there can be cases where it's too much for the baby. Dentists can prescribe a mouth guard for your little one’s teeth. It can protect them while teething, resulting in minor discomfort, pain, or even ear infections for your child.
While mouth protection is a great option to fight back bruxism, there are other options to ensure that your baby feels fine and has a restful sleep. You don't even need to consider sleep training your baby either. Every parent knows about teething toys. Teethers, especially those made out of rubber, softwood, or ice, can be perfect for helping soothe your baby's gums. You can even go the DIY route by freezing a damp washcloth for them to chew on.
Related: When You Should Stop Using a Pacifier
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The more your child grows, the less they’re going to teeth and feel the need to grind their teeth. Baby teeth grinding is something that will naturally go away on its own. Also, babies are constantly growing and changing, so they don't need a nightguard every night as an adult does. Hearing those sounds can physically cringe, but your baby's behavior is entirely normal. You can rest assured know that this is just another familiar cycle that the baby grows through on their way to childhood. But if you're concerned, then, by all means, feel free to take your little one to a dentist or pediatrician and get a personalized opinion and advice from them. They'll take a look and ensure that your baby will be alright.