Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, clenching, or the gnashing of teeth, is a common occurrence in both adults and children. Bruxism can be experienced by day (awake bruxism), by night (sleep bruxism), or both. In children, grinding teeth usually occurs after teething and again when permanent teeth come in, but this is temporary and once teeth have fully erupted, the grinding of teeth experienced by babies should subside.
Does grinding damage a baby's teeth?
In most cases, baby grinding teeth, also known as baby bruxism, eases once teething has stopped. In these cases, teeth are not damaged. However, more long term grinding or long term baby bruxism can lead to jaw clenching, damaging or wearing down teeth, jaw pain or soreness, earache or headache. If baby bruxism persists beyond teething, speak to your dentist who will assess and advise on the best way to protect babies’ teeth from grinding,
What Causes A Baby To Grind Teeth?
Baby bruxism, also known as baby teeth grinding, clenching or the gnashing of teeth, is a common occurrence during teething. In infants and babies, grinding teeth usually occurs after teething and again when permanent teeth come in. This kind of baby grinding or baby bruxism is temporary and, once teeth have fully erupted, the grinding of teeth should subside.
How to stop babies grinding teeth
Monitor and Track
For most babies, grinding is a natural reaction to teething and tooth eruption. At Spotlight Oral Care, we recommend using a Baby Teeth Schedule or Baby Teeth Time Chart to monitor and track your baby’s teething progress so that you can ensure the cause of baby grinding and bruxism is normal and not long-term.
Teething rings can help your baby to chew safely and relieve teething discomfort. If kept in the fridge, the cool temperature will help to alleviate the discomfort experienced during teething. Always choose a teething ring that is the right size for your baby to ensure they will not choke, and always supervise babies while using a teething ring.
Play Time and Interaction
Distracting your baby is a great way to draw their attention away from teething pain. Use toys, books, or take them out to a new environment to stimulate and distract them until pain has subsided.
Cool, Healthy Liquids
Cool liquids, like the cool teething ring, can help to soothe and ease the discomfort of teething. Fluoridated tap water is the best drink to give babies, as it is healthy, is hydrating, and the fluoride will help to protect the erupting tooth or teeth from decay. Avoid sugary drinks or juices which can damage erupting tooth health.
Chewing on healthy foods has also been shown to help ease the pain and discomfort of teething. Carrot sticks and breadsticks are ideal, but solid foods are only safe for babies aged 6 months and older.
What Teeth Grinding Remedies To Avoid
Sugar and Syrups
While pacifying teething babies with sugar may seem like a good idea, it is not recommended. Sugary food and drinks damage your baby's erupting teeth and cause cavities and decay. Never put sweet drinks including fruit juice into the bottle and never add sugar, syrup, or anything sweet to your baby's foods. If your baby uses a soother, never dip it in sugar, syrup, honey, or anything sweet. It goes without saying that sugar is the root cause of many dental issues for children, so limiting junk food is key. Sugar is also known as sucrose, glucose, fructose, and maltose so always check the labels of food to ensure there are no hidden sugars contained. Sugar is not a long or short-term solution to teeth grinding.
The HSE states that teething jewellery should never be used for babies. Teething jewellery can include necklaces, anklets, or bracelets, all of which are easy for babies to choke on.
Unsafe Teething Products
There are many unsafe, unproven and unlicensed teething products available that are not clinically proven and could harm the health of your baby. Always consult your GP when considering medication for baby teething.