Babies start teething anywhere between the age of 6 months and a year, and as any parent can tell you, it can be a rather fraught time. The discomfort of teeth emerging through the gums can leave baby grouchy, bad-tempered, and constantly whiny.
It also means that they will put almost anything they can in their mouths to chew. And sometimes you may notice your baby grinds teeth.
Why do babies grind their teeth?
This may simply be a way to relieve the pain and explore their newly developed teeth, but if it happens constantly, especially at night, they may have bruxism, a condition that causes regular grinding of the teeth.
Bruxism is the medical term for regular and habitual grinding of teeth. It affects all age groups, from babies to adults, and can occur at all times of the day. If it happens at night it is called sleep bruxism. Luckily, most cases are not serious and do not require medical treatment.
How to stop a baby from grinding teeth?
Although baby grinding teeth is not usually a serious problem, the sound can be very disturbing, especially at night. And if the habit is left unchecked and develops into a long-term one, it can lead to more serious problems such as:
- worn or damaged teeth
- jaw pain or soreness
- headache around the temples
It is, therefore, a good idea to try and ease your baby’s discomfort. There are many toothing gels and creams on the market, but we would not recommend using them. These are basically analgesic creams that numb the mouth, so while they relieve the discomfort, they can also result in your child injuring their mouth by biting on a sharp object and not being able to feel pain.
There are several natural ways you can stop an infant grinding new teeth. The first is to make sure your baby is relaxed and calm before going to bed. To do this you should:
- Gently massage your baby and stretch their arms and legs to decrease muscular tension
- Rub their temples in an anti-clockwise direction for a few minutes
If these techniques are not enough, or you need to stop your infant grinding teeth during the day you can try:
Natural rubber teethers
These are toys or rings made of rubber which your baby can chew when they feel discomfort. It is important that they are made of natural rubber though as ones made from artificial materials could contain toxic chemicals.
These contain a small amount of liquid which retains cold. Keep them in your refrigerator and when the baby is showing signs of distress, give them one to chew; the cold will ease the pain.
Teething necklaces are necklaces with large beads made of silicone. These are great for outdoors as they allow the baby to chew while keeping their hands free to do more exploring. Just be aware that there is always a risk of strangulation when you put something around a baby’s neck, so never leave them unattended when they are wearing a necklace, and always remove it at night.
If the problem persists beyond the teething stage, you should consult a dentist. The chances are it will clear up by itself by the time your child reaches their teens, but you need to monitor the teeth to make sure they are not being damaged.
We hope you found this blog useful, and if you have any further questions, please contact us at Doral Sedation Dentistry — we will be happy to answer them. Thank you for your time and have a nice day.