5-year-old grinding teeth in his sleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(cross-posted in Dental)

My five-year-old has been grinding his teeth in his sleep for the past few weeks. It is the most unnerving sound (we co-sleep), and I'm worried about him damaging his teeth or jaw. Last night I stuck my finger in his mouth when he was doing it, and his teeth were clenched together so tightly. I've heard of adults having this problem, and wearing a mouth guard to sleep. I can't really imagine getting my five-year-old to do that.

Any advice?

Thanks!

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#2 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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My oldest son and sometimes my husband do this too. The dentist wasn't concerned. I keep asking at each dentist appointment, but I guess if they're not causing any visible damage then it's not a worry. I was wondering about a mouth guard too.

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#3 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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I used to do this as a child, and I may still do it when under stress (an exboyfriend mentioned it to me once when I was trying to finish my Masters thesis. DH hasn't noticed, but he is a very deep sleeper).

I did damage to one of my teeth, it was a baby tooth. It turned brown and died. Eventually it fell out (during the normal course of losing babyteeth) and it broke into pieces.

I would at least talk to your dentist about it.
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#4 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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I have a client who is also my dentist, and I talked to her about it because my 5 year old does this too. It sounds like he is eating Grape Nuts in his sleep

She seems rather unconcerned. Says it is fairly common in kids this age, and he will probably grow out of it.
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#5 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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My little sister did this when we were young. The dentist had her clinch her teeth together as hard as she could for 3 seconds and relax for 5 seconds, clinch hard for 3 and relax for 5. She did this about 10 or more times, right before going to sleep at night. It really helped. I do it now as an adult when I have had a stressful day and know it'll probably be a teeth clinching night. Works wonders for me. There have been times in the past when I have woken up in the morning with every tooth in my head hurting from clinching my teeth all night. It hurts worse than a severe sinus infection so I wouldn't agree with not being concerned about it. HTH
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#6 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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It's nice to hear that other kids do the same thing.

DS is 6.5 and still grinding (and still co-sleeping, too).

Lola'smommy, thanks for the idea. I'll see if DS will try that and if it helps (and I'll try it too, lol)

 

 

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#7 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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Our DD used to do this and we asked the dentist about it. He said no worries, it will stop soon. And it did. I could not STAND the sound of it, but she's 5 years 5 months old now and it hasn't happened for awhile - a few months, at least.

She also lost her first tooth a few months after it stopped, so there may be something to the dentist's claim that teeth grinding at this age somehow "readies" the baby teeth to start getting loose.

Yes, grinding can cause damage if it goes on for long periods of time in adults, but apparently that is not the case in kids around this age - it will stop on its own.

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#8 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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Yup. Ds is 5 and has been doing it for a little over a year. It is the grossest sound to me-I cannot fall asleep next to him in our bed when he's doing it...ick.

I did talk to his dentist about it at his recent appointment and she said there isn't anything we can do, that it's common in little kids and once he starts getting his adult teeth, his bite will change and it will stop. We'll see...fingers crossed.


ETA: I did ask about a bite guard, but was told that there was no way he would keep it in during the night anyway....probably true for us.
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#9 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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I ground my teeth as a child and still do as an adult. My six yo DD does as well. It is worse when she has fluid behind her ears or is congested or worried. Just part of life. I acutally find that if I do a little meditation before bed "i don't need to grit my teeth, i don't need to grit my teeth" then it isn't as bad.

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#10 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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My DS is 3.5, and he does this every now and then (we co-sleep, and the sound drives me up a wall!). I notice that he does it when he has a cold or isn't feeling well. Usually if I relieve his cold symptoms (we use a humidifier with the Kaz inhalant in the medicine cup or a Sudafed plug-in vaproizer and both do the trick every time) he will stop.

My dentist said that they do it when they are teething, or when their teeth hurt and there's nothing that can be done to stop it at this age.
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#11 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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I have a similar story to the pp's. Ds is 5.5 and his two middle bottom teeth are so tiny now from all the grinding. I swear I don't know how they're going to fall out. We'll need tweezers to grab a hold of them . He's been going to the dentist every 6 months since he was 3 and the dentist has noticed it but is not concerned at all.

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#12 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama to one View Post
I have a similar story to the pp's. Ds is 5.5 and his two middle bottom teeth are so tiny now from all the grinding. I swear I don't know how they're going to fall out. We'll need tweezers to grab a hold of them . He's been going to the dentist every 6 months since he was 3 and the dentist has noticed it but is not concerned at all.
:

same here...i've decided to not worry about it...I don't know why but he seems happy enough and he's eating well and nothing has fallen out yet!
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#13 of 16 Old 04-07-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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I am so glad you've asked this question. My almost 5 year old is a major teeth grinder as well. We also co-sleep and it's the most awful sound ever!
Our dentist also didn't seem to see a problem.

What bothered me, besides the sound, was the idea that I associated it with stress which I guess probably isn't the case.
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#14 of 16 Old 04-08-2008, 12:12 AM
 
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My DS (5 in a week) does it when he is awake and he is upset or unhappy about something, which seems to be a lot. I fall asleep next to him but don't stay all night so I"m not sure if he does it in his sleep. Do your kids do this?

Mama to DD 4-00 and DS 4-03
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#15 of 16 Old 04-10-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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this may seem sorta weird, but teeth grinding can also be a sign of pinworms. just to add to your confusion!
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#16 of 16 Old 04-10-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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DD grinds her teeth in her sleep. Our dentist is not concerned. Now, DH does it, and it causes him horrible head aches, so he wears a night guard.

Mom to 2 wonderful little MDB's
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