Experts aren't always sure why bruxism happens. Teeth alignment, response to pain from ear infections or teething are thought to be common causes in children. In most cases, kids will outgrow night grinding.
Stress and anxiety can also be a factor. For example, a child might worry about a test or a change in routine (a new sibling or a new teacher). Even arguing with parents and siblings can cause enough stress to prompt teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Many kids who are hyperactive or ADHD also have bruxism.
What Can I do to help a child with Bruxism?
During the day:
- Make sure they get the exercise they need every day.
- Encourage healthy eating with less sugar.
- Give Positive reinforcement instead of negative.
- Keep a consistent bedtime routine: for example, first is bath time, second is brushing teeth, third is story time, fourth is turning the night light on, fifth is hugs and kisses, etc
- Organize for the next day: Lay out clothing, pack lunch, and the backpack. This will not only help your child be more independent, it will also eliminate the morning rush.
- Take a warm bath: Oftentimes, warm water serves as a great muscle relaxer, and can help melt away some of the stress and worries of the day. Try using a soothing lavender scent, which can help your child further unwind.
- Read books or listen to calm music: Help your child set a sleep timer on her alarm clock or simply play a CD, either while she lies in bed or as she begins her bedtime routine (e.g. reading a book). Quiet lullaby music can help a child let go of the thoughts running through her mind and help her get in a more relaxed state.
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