Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a condition in which an individual’s jaw involuntarily contracts, causing them to grind their teeth. Most of the time this happens when they are asleep. Teeth grinding is common among children, so it should not alarm you.
It happens during the Rapid Eye Movement or REM stage of sleep when your toddler’s brain is active and dreams. As they are preoccupied with dreaming, they are not aware of the involuntary actions they are making.
Doctors are still stumped as to what is the main cause of bruxism or teeth grinding, but they have put together some factors as to what might cause it. Some factors include sleep apnea which is more common in adults, stress, anxiety, experiencing pain, misalignment of teeth, and nightmares. Most individuals grow out tooth grinding by the time they have grown out of their toddler years, but some carry it on until their adult years.
Teeth grinding is not a life-threatening condition, but it can still cause damage to your toddler’s well-being. It is best to consult a doctor if your toddler complains of pain when waking up, teeth sensitivity, recurring headaches, gum bleeding, redness, or swelling.