February 09, 2008,
M.E. asks from Lawndale, CA on February 05, 2008
Help, My 2 1/2 Year Old Daughter Grinds Her Teeth So Bad at Night, Any Advice?
Is teeth grinding hereditary? My two younger daughters have major grinding problems while sleeping. My 8 year old used to grind her teeth so bad in her sleep that her two front teeth were so short, they were literally centimeters below the gum line. I was afraid she would have dental problems. I asked the dentist and was told when they're that young there is nothing they can really do, especially since they were baby teeth. I was told when her big teeth come in if it's still an issue they could fit her for night time mouth guards. Well her baby teeth came out fine despite my worries and are now replaced by her adult teeth. Fortunately I don't think she grinds anymore, at least I don't hear it and her teeth haven’t shortened.
BUT.....now my 2 1/2 year old daughter grinds her teeth so bad I wake up in the middle of the night (it doesn't help that she sleeps with us). It seems as if it's her back teeth that she's grinding, not the front ones. It is so loud and painful sounding, I can't bare it anymore. I try to stick my finger in her mouth and pry open her jaw but she whines and fusses in her sleep then goes back to grinding. Has anyone else encountered such terrible teeth grinding? Any help, suggestions or solutions? I'm not trying to save my sleepless nights but instead I'm trying, crossing my fingers, that there is something I can do to stop her teeth grinding habit in hopes to prevent any future dental issues or even jaw pain. Any help and suggestions are appreciated but please don't email me any negative comments. Thank you!
E.K. answers from Los Angeles on February 09, 2008
My 5 year-old also does this, and it is so loud that we can hear him from the other room. I try massaging his jaw to relax it, but it does not help much. I did the same thing for years, and I sometimes still do it when I am overly tired or stressed. The dentist said that I have an overbite, and in my sleep I am trying to "adjust" it? But I have not had any long-term problems as a result. I notice that my son also does it when he is deeply tired, so I have been trying to make sure he gets the amount of sleep he needs. I'm not too worried about it, though. If it is a problem in the future, we'll try a mouth guard. I think the dentist recommended it for me when I was a teen, but I never used it consistently. I don't think there are really any "solutions," unless you can diagnose the reason it is happening (i.e. overly tired, overbite, a deep sleeper, bad dreams). Good luck!
K.J. answers from Los Angeles on February 05, 2008
My 4 year old grinds her teeth at night too, but it doesn't keep me awake because she sleeps in another room. In our case, she generally grinds her teeth whenever she's either had a stressful day (e.g., fighting with her sister) or a stressful dream (about fighting with her sister). I think there is also a hereditary component since I grind my teeth as well (usually when I'm stressed).
You might try helping your daughter relax before bedtime either with a back rub, soothing music, and/or aromatherapy. I hope everything works out.
M.L. answers from Los Angeles on February 05, 2008
My four year old son also grinds his teeth so loud it sounds like glass breaking. The dentist said this was very normal and that they would grow out of it by 9 or 10 and it would not effect teeth or jaw. hope that helps.
G.G. answers from Los Angeles on February 08, 2008
since the dentist said everything turned out ok for the 4 yr old, then why shouldn't it turn out ok for the 2 1/2 yr old? i say get her out of your bed, maybe in the room with the 4 yr old, and get some sleep. my son who is 12 now, used to grind his back teeth in his sleep from the time he was about 5-6 yrs old, dentist says it was stress related. so now i take him once a month to get massage therapy to releive stress! no kidding and it worked! :) :)
P.W. answers from Los Angeles on February 08, 2008
It's normal for them to grind their teeth. I was told it is because it helps to stimulate root growth and softens the gums for the next tooth that is coming in. She will grow out of it is my advise. :)