Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gritting of Teeth (bruxism)

The first sign of your child’s gritting of teeth can be sounds you may hear in the night. If you hear a mysterious sound, resembling some creak, coming from a child’s room, come to him and learn.

Bruxism (greeting of teeth) occurs as a result of rhythmic clonus of masticatory muscles, accompanied by low sound, resembling gritting or clicking. During bruxism, a change of pulse, arterial pressure, breath etc. takes place. This phenomenon during sleep is met rather often. Mechanisms of bruxism origin are still not clear.

No personal changes, typical for those who suffer from bruxism were found. It is considered that bruxism can be one of displays of defects of sleep regulation, like somnambulism, night enuresis and nightmares. It was discovered that these phenomena are displayed more often under epilepsy.

Bruxism is found in 5-15% cases in population, and in about 50% of children. There’re facts about inherited predisposition to bruxism. Bruxism causes no problems for majority of children, and many of them get out of this habit with time. During sleep, you may notice several episodes of bruxism, lasting up to 10 seconds. If bruxism’s episodes last longer and are extremely intensive, then this may lead to damage of teeth and surrounding soft parts.

During severe fits of bruxism a child may wake up in the morning with headache, toothache and even painful feelings in his face. This may turn out to be very serious. If gritting of teeth lasts for more than months and years, teeth can undergo significant wear. Moreover, this may damage the joint that helps lower jaw to join a side of head.

If your child is gritting his teeth all the time, you should consult a dentist, which can make a special tire for your child, which won’t allow teeth to adjoin. If your child is gritting his teeth only sometimes, then you can try to use methods, recommended by experts, or you may also use them together with a tire in his mouth.

Give rest to jaws. If your child doesn’t chew, swallow or talk, his upper and lower teeth shouldn’t adjoin. If teeth adjoin, there’s only one step to gritting left. Explain to a child and ask him to try keeping his teeth slightly pulled out, when his jaws are relaxed.

Encourage exercising. Regular exercises can help your child to relieve stress and muscle tension, which lead to a night gritting of teeth.

Calm occupations before going to bed. A child shouldn’t take part in some struggle, drawing and other impetuous games before going to bed. Strained muscles need time to relax, before a child falls asleep. Create a calm atmosphere for your child 1 hour before he goes to bed. You can read a book or give him a possibility to read or look through pictures by himself during this period.

Try to put your child to bed earlier. Probably, your child is just too tired, and this may lead to gritting of teeth in the night. In this case, earlier going to bed may help him. If your child usually went to bed at 9 pm, try to put him to bed at 8 pm.

Avoid eating before going to bed. If digestive juices are working in the night, this may lead to excess tension of a baby during sleep. Don’t give anything to your child, except water, an hour before he goes to bed.

Speak with a child about his problems. If your child is worried with some difficult home task or a coming school performance, this may serve as a reason that makes him gritting his teeth in the night. If something worries a child, don’t let him go to bed with this anxiety in his head. Talk to him before he goes to bed, so that all troubles would leave him, this often helps to relieve tension. Make a 5 or 10 minutes conversation a daily sedative procedure before your child falls asleep.

Apply warm, wet compresses. If your child’s jaw aches in the morning, moisten a terry-cloth tissue in warm water, squeeze it and apply to an aching jaw till your child feels better. This will help to calm down pain.