My six-year-old son frequently grinds his teeth during sleep. Is this a problem? It does sound very unnerving and we are worried it might lead to some other health or dental issues. Please advise.
Studies have shown that approximately 25-35 per cent of children grind their teeth at night, a condition known as bruxism. Normally this occurs when the first primary or milk teeth appear and when they loose their baby teeth and start growing adult teeth.
Some studies suggest that there is a correlation between bruxism and nasal airway obstruction, enlarged tonsils, asthma and respiratory infections. Bruxism is also more common in children who are hyperactive and stressed. But even though the sounds may be unnerving, luckily most children grow out of bruxism, and so no treatment is required.
I would recommend you consult a paediatric dentist to ensure that the grinding doesn’t wear down your son’s teeth excessively, in which case a soft plastic night guard might be needed to protect his teeth.
The dentist may also refer your son to an ENT doctor to check if there are any signs of airway obstruction.