Is it bad for children to grind their teeth?

Grinding teeth in children: what to do

Grinding teeth: cause often unclear

Up to 30 percent of children rub their teeth together after their third birthday. Dentists then speak of bruxism. "For some, stress plays a role, but for many no cause can be found," explains the pediatric dentist. The gnashing of teeth becomes problematic when it "happens continuously and with great intensity", says the expert. Initially, only the milk teeth are affected. But: "Anyone who grinds as a child usually still does so as a teenager and adult."

The habit damages the teeth. They are severely abraded and the protective enamel is rubbed off. This makes the teeth more sensitive, for example to hot or cold drinks. Intense crunching can overuse the muscles of the face and TMJ - like sore muscles. This can lead to tension in the neck area and headaches.

Observe child: often only phases

Teeth rubbing occurs intermittently in almost all children. Heavy grinding times alternate with days, weeks or months in which the child does not creak their teeth. "One should observe in which phases the crunch occurs," advises Christian Hirsch. For example, tooth grinding can be related to the start of kindergarten or a move. Often the little ones relax on their own. During this time, the offspring helps when parents are there for them and talk to them about their worries.

If the child rubs their teeth during the day, the parents should kindly point this out to them. Because the little ones often act unconsciously - for example when they concentrate. If the child is very busy with something internally, it is important to first create more external calm, that is, to ensure less media consumption and undisturbed night sleep. If the grinding is still very strong at night, a plastic splint can help protect the teeth. The dentist adapts these individually. He also decides whether a splint is necessary for the milk teeth. In any case, parents should go to the dentist with their child if they notice "that the grinding increases, the teeth hurt or are more sensitive," says Hirsch.