Oral Health News

March 2016

What does sleep have to do with oral health?

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 6-12. So, what does sleep have to do with oral health?

“Sleep bruxism” is a term used to describe clenching or grinding teeth during sleep. More than one-third of parents report symptoms of bruxism in their children.

What are the symptoms of sleep bruxism?

  • Worn down teeth
  • Facial and jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Tooth pain

Why does your child clench or grind at night?

While there is no single cause for bruxism, the things below have been linked to clenching or grinding during sleep.

  • Stress/anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Caffeine
  • Snoring
  • Allergies
  • Crooked or missing teeth

What should you do if your child is clenching or grinding? Most children outgrow bruxism in their teens. In the meantime, talk to your pediatrician and your child’s dentist. Create a regular bedtime routine to help your child relax. Enforce a scheduled bedtime and wake time, including on the weekends. Make sure your child’s bedroom is dark and quiet at night and keep electronics out of the bedroom to improve sleep. Quality sleep is important for concentration, creativity and critical thinking!

More resources

“Teeth Grinding” - American Dental Association

"Teeth Grinding" - National Sleep Foundation

"Sleep and Academic Success" - Washington University Health Promotion Services