Teeth grinding and nail biting... - Mothering Forums

Teeth grinding and nail biting...

boysmom2's Avatar boysmom2 (TS)
01:08 PM Liked: 13
#1 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 1,029
Joined: Jan 2007
I'm wondering what I can do to help my 5yo stop grinding his teeth. He's been doing it for several months, but lately it's gotten SO much worse. My DH and several of his siblings grind their teeth to the point that you can tell by looking at them which ones they are. They all have small, flat teeth. Yuck. I really don't want this to become a lifelong problem for my little guy, but I'm not sure how to help him. I've gently explained why it's not good for him and asked him if it would be ok to point it out to him when I notice so that he can stop. He agreed, so I just remind him to be gentle with his teeth, or to open his mouth for a moment, but it doesn't seem to be helping much.

My 8yo doesn't grind his teeth, but does bite his nails. DH's sister bites hers so much that her nails are less than half as long as they should be and the ends of her fingers puff out where they should be covered by her nails. Again, yuck. I don't want him to have this habit forever either. I try to remind him, but he just gets annoyed, so I've backed off.

So, other than not having children with someone from a family with so many bad habits , any thoughts on how I could fix this?

One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl
05:18 PM Liked: 2767
#2 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 4,668
Joined: Feb 2008
I give my dd gum to chew and it seems to help. I also grind my teeth and I find that chewing gum and taking deep breathes helps a lot. At night if she grinds in her sleep and I happen to hear it I gently massage her jaw or stroke her cheek and that seems to relax her even in her sleep.
CalaRei's Avatar CalaRei
10:29 PM Liked: 12
#3 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 878
Joined: Mar 2008
Maybe you could have a fun signal like making a fish face at him... have him make it back. When you suck your cheeks in like that, you can't grind at the same time?

Nails? Who knows, I still struggle with it. I do best when I maintain them and file them on my own so that I'm not tempted to pick at ragged edges and such.
E.V. Lowi's Avatar E.V. Lowi
10:44 PM Liked: 21
#4 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 2,789
Joined: Sep 2005
Teeth grinding is due to TMJ, isn't it? And nail biting can be due tom intestinal parasites, so check that out with your doctor.
tanyalynn's Avatar tanyalynn
10:58 PM Liked: 34
#5 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 11,489
Joined: Jun 2005
I stopped grinding my teeth (at least I stopped having pain in the morning due to it, I think I stopped) when I started supplementing magnesium. And for DD, biting her nails is a sign I need to give her more zinc. As you can tell, all our answer for odd and/or inconvenient behaviors have turned out to be health issues.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial
11:06 PM Liked: 186
#6 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 4,449
Joined: Nov 2005
I don't know how to stop it in a child, but I wish someone had tried to stop me. I grind at night. I have SOOOOO much dental work that I need because of it. I wasn't even told about the dangers of teeth grinding til I was 45 years old.

I'm a little bitter about this too.

I have one crown, one bridge, and need more root canals, ALL because I grind my teeth.

So, if you find a way to stop it or at least keep his teeth safe, I'd do it at all cost, or he won't have many of his beautiful little teeth. (Ok, by the time he's 40, they won't be that beautiful and they won't be little... I'm over-dramatizing it a bit)
RoamingWidgeteer's Avatar RoamingWidgeteer
11:30 PM Liked: 12
#7 of 12
09-12-2010 | Posts: 92
Joined: Jan 2010
I don't think its possible to stop teeth grinding at night by force of will, but you can get a dentist to make a tooth guard that stops it. Don't know if any dentist can make one, mine was done by my uncle who's specialized in dental surgery. During the day, I found gum* helped until I destressed enough not to need it anymore. Simply telling myself to stop didn't work because I then started to push at the teeth with my tongue until they shifted, hurt and didn't quite fit together anymore :-/

* gum alternative: chew soft wheat kernels until the gluten forms and becomes chewy & rubbery. Don't taste great but is sugar and additive free.
boysmom2's Avatar boysmom2 (TS)
01:11 AM Liked: 13
#8 of 12
09-13-2010 | Posts: 1,029
Joined: Jan 2007
Thanks everybody! I like the gum and fish face ideas! Anything to stop it without having to say "Stop it!!" would be great!

And the nutritional deficiency idea is interesting. I'll have to look into that some more. Thanks!

And does anybody know why intestinal parasites would cause nail biting? That just seems so odd! And I thought TMJ was caused by teeth grinding, not the other way around, or am I confused?
E.V. Lowi's Avatar E.V. Lowi
03:03 AM Liked: 21
#9 of 12
09-13-2010 | Posts: 2,789
Joined: Sep 2005
No- TMJ causes the grinding. You can get fitted for a mouth guard to prevent damage to your teeth. See a dentist that specializes in TMJ.

It was explained to me that intestinal parasites cause nervousness in children and so nail biting would be a symptom of that.
Quinalla's Avatar Quinalla
04:43 PM Liked: 253
#10 of 12
09-15-2010 | Posts: 2,334
Joined: May 2005
Yeah, have your dentist make a mouth guard, that is the only way I was able to stop clenching/grinding my teeth. Well, ask the dentist about it first of course, he/she may have a better idea, but that worked well for me. My grinding was from stress and became an unconscious nervous habit.
WindAndSolar's Avatar WindAndSolar
09:03 AM Liked: 0
#11 of 12
10-08-2010 | Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2009
I also think that intestinal parasites can also reduce the amount of nutrients that are being absorbed by the body, so it could cause a decrease in the amounts of magnesium or zinc that are being absorbed.

The TMJ comments are interesting, I didn't even know that kids could get TMJ! Maybe it is time to switch dentists - ours told me that my 5 yo would just outgrow grinding his teeth in his sleep. I don't know if I am convinced, my dad is 75 yo and he ground his teeth so loud that I could hear it! Now he has little teeth that have been eroded away over the years. I'm definitely going to inquire about TMJ, but I wonder if ours could also be anxiety related, I know that my dad's was.
provocativa's Avatar provocativa
12:32 AM Liked: 7106
#12 of 12
10-10-2010 | Posts: 2,778
Joined: Jan 2005
tmj is a magnesium deficiency issue- you can google it. my dd2 grinds her teeth when she doesn't get her mag supp and she is stressed. for us, our mag deficiency is from food allergies (malabsorbtion) and yeast overgrowth. i was a nail biter, and it was likely a mineral deficiency. it can be several different minerals. with my dd1, it is zinc and silica- she gets plenty of mg and cal and the cofactors for their absorbtion. i need to work on the others more. . .
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