Tag Archives: Teething

Teeth Grinding: Is that normal?

A young boy after losing two baby teeth, exfol...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the first post in the new series, “Should I be worried?” – your go-to-place for a quick reference about a variety of common infant and toddler behaviours and ailments.

As many as a third of young children will grind and click their teeth. The habit can emerge as young as 8 months, around the time the front teeth come in. The sound of your child grinding her teeth will most likely set your own on edge. It’s surprisingly loud, disconcertingly abrasive, and can have you asking, “Is this normal?”

Should I be worried about my baby or toddler’s teeth grinding?

No, there’s no need to worry. Not only is this a common practise in young children, it’s also a harmless one. Teething grinding, or Bruxism as it’s technically called, will not ruin your baby’s teeth. 

Though some slight wearing of the teeth can occur, it won’t be enough to seriously damage them, and certainly not enough to cause pain. Baby teeth have fewer developed nerves and less fully developed roots, and so are not as sensitive as adult teeth. Your baby can probably only feel a rubbing sensation from the action. 

Why do children grind their teeth?

There are several reasons your child may be grinding her teeth. The habit usually begins with teething, so it may be that the rubbing helps alleviate pain and discomfort. The sound and sensation can also be soothing to your child. Similar to head banging or rocking, children find a rhythmic motion, feeling, or sound comforting when they are anxious or tired; self soothing is valuable skill and not a sign your child is unhappy.

Most likely, however, the grinding is a natural and healthy learning process that goes hand in hand with new teeth. Your child is exploring her mouth and teeth and discovering what they do, how they feel, and what noises they can make. Even though the sound is horrible to you, it is interesting to your child.

Should I do anything about it?

This, too, shall pass. Your child will likely grow bored of grinding her teeth during the day and grow out of grinding them at night. The habit is best ignored or discouraged with distraction.

If your child is still grinding her teeth regularly after all her baby teeth have come in, this may be the time to see a dentist and check for excessive wear. Even then, it is unlikely that your child’s grinding is a problem and probable that she will grow out of the behaviour by the time she is about 6 years old.

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Does your child grind their teeth?

What have you done about it?

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Teething Necklaces: Are they a scam? (I’ll give you a hint, the answer is ‘yes’)

In recent years I’ve seen more and more babies wearing amber teething necklaces. You probably have too, both in the streets, in your circle of family and friends, and around the million dollar necks of celebrity offspring.

Pretty? Sure. Curative? No.

If you don’t know, these necklaces are made from Baltic Amber and are supposed to relieve pain and inflammation from teething.  I’ve heard many people say they work, and many more who say they may as well try them even if they’re aren’t sure if they work, but here’s the rub: there’s not one single shred of evidence worldwide that amber necklaces have any affect on the body whatsoever – except to self-esteem, perhaps. I feel great when I wear some beautiful amber jewellery my dad gave me, but only because I look so lovely in it 😉

There’s two main arguments why I don’t think the teething necklaces should be used.

I write about both here, in an article about the dangers of choking or strangulation from a necklace made with beads that have absolutely no proven health benefits. The beads can break off easily and become a choking hazard and you should never wrap anything about a baby’s neck as they risk strangling themselves. Some suggest wearing the necklace around the ankle to avoid strangulation but then the risk of choking on dislodged beads still exists.

But the main reason I don’t think an amber necklace should be worn by babies to relieve teething pain is because they’re a hoax. Continue reading

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