Pediatric Services Pediatric Services: An intervention team serving children with developmental delays.

HomeParents' CornerParents' Corner ArchiveProfessional CornerProfessional Corner ArchiveCase in ProgressCase in Progress ArchiveInspirational MessagesInspirational Messages ArchiveDirect ServicesConsultingSeminars, Workshops, and MoreSpecial EventsRecommended ReadingRecommended Reading for ChildrenAsk the Experts News FlashCurrent Question and AnswerUnderstanding the LingoAbout the TeamTestimonialsFees, Location, and DetailsTypical Development: MakennaTypical Development: LaceyResourcesPrivacyStatementConfidentiality

Parents Corner

The Nightly Grind

That odd gnawing noise your child makes in his sleep could be the sound of tooth against tooth. About 14 percent of kids ages 3 to 7 grind their teeth at night a habit called bruxism. "Kids with sleep disturbances bed-wetters, sleeptalkers, or sleepwalkers are prone to clinching and grinding," says Rhea Haugseth, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Researchers believe that some kids gnash their chompers because their top and bottom teeth don’t meet properly, they have a high tooth they are subconsciously trying to level, or they’re stressed. Left unchecked, bruxism can erode tooth enamel, cause pain and stiffness in the jaw, or wear down and loosen the teeth, says Dr. Haugseth.

The good news is that generally, grinding won’t lead to cavities, and the kids might outgrow the habit. But if grinding persists beyond age 6, dentists can check the child’s bite, file down a high tooth, or fit him with a plastic mouth guard to wear at night to protect the teeth.

Reducing stress before bed may help. Give your child a warm, relaxing bath followed by storytime. Talk to him about any worries and fears to put his mind at ease. Also, offer him some crunchy fruits and veggies as evening snacks. The chewing action may leave jaw muscles too tired to gnash later.

Other useful resources

Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots has established the Drew Bledsoe Foundation Parenting With Dignity program. Bledsoe says of his success "my parents helped me the most to be what I am today" and his goal is to help other parents give their children the best possible start. For more information, see http://www.drewbledsoe.com/.

  • Unable to find what you're looking for? Search the entire site to find information about any subject we have information on. Instructions:
    Type a word or words into the form below and press the Search button. You may use "quotation marks" to search for a phrase. Adding a plus sign (+) before a word or phrase will require its presence; adding a minus sign (-) before a word or phrase will require its absence.

HomeParents' CornerParents' Corner ArchiveProfessional CornerProfessional Corner ArchiveCase in ProgressCase in Progress ArchiveInspirational MessagesInspirational Messages ArchiveDirect ServicesConsultingSeminars, Workshops, and MoreSpecial EventsRecommended ReadingRecommended Reading for ChildrenAsk the Experts News FlashCurrent Question and AnswerUnderstanding the LingoAbout the TeamTestimonialsFees, Location, and DetailsTypical Development: MakennaTypical Development: LaceyResourcesPrivacyStatementConfidentiality

CONTENTS (except as noted) ©2003-8 by Pediatric Services

Corporate Office in Morro Bay, California (San Luis Obispo County)
Telephone: 805.550.8799 Fax: 805.772.8246

E-mail:
Click here to ask a question.

DESIGN ©2003 by William Blinn Communications

Worthington, Ohio 43085

Articles written by Pediatric Services staff are copyright by Pediatric Services.
All other articles are copyright by their respective owners.
Information provided is for educational use only
and is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician.

Last modified: August 6, 2016