Kids Teeth Grinding - Causes, Effects and Treatment

Kids Teeth Grinding - Causes, Effects and Treatment

Kids Teeth Grinding - Causes, Effects and Treatment

Teeth grinding doesn’t just affect adults — many children also grind their teeth. While it is common for children to grow out of teeth grinding as they get older, it is important to know the signs and symptoms. If you think that your child may be grinding their teeth, talk to their dentist. Grinding of the baby teeth is usually harmless, but their dentist can help correct the issue before it can affect the adult teeth. To learn more about pediatric teeth grinding, here are the causes, effects, and treatments.

Causes of Pediatric Teeth Grinding

While dentists are unsure what exactly causes children to grind their teeth, the causes of pediatric teeth grinding are generally the same as adult teeth grinding. According to WebMD, these causes can include:

  • improperly aligned, missing, or crooked teeth
  • abnormal bite
  • medical conditions including nutritional deficiencies, allergies, and endocrine disorders
  • stress or anxiety

Often, teeth grinding in children tends to occur at two major times: when their baby teeth emerge and when their adult teeth come in. While some children may grind their teeth during the day, teeth grinding during sleep is quite common.

What Happens if a Child Grinds Their Teeth?

Teeth grinding can result in a variety of harmful effects to the teeth and mouth. According to the Mayo Clinic, teeth grinding can cause:

  • tooth pain or sensitivity
  • tired or tight jaw muscles
  • a locked jaw that won’t properly open or close
  • pain or soreness in the jaw, pain, or neck
  • pain that feels like an earache
  • dull headache
  • damage from chewing on the inside of the teeth
  • sleep problems

If damage from teeth grinding is severe enough, your child may need reparative dental procedures to repair affected teeth.

Treatments for Teeth Grinding

If you think that your child may be grinding their teeth, be sure to tell their dentist. At their next pediatric dentistry appointment, their dentist will examine their teeth for any signs or symptoms of teeth grinding, and they will also check for any damage. Over the next few visits, the dentist can monitor the condition of your child’s teeth to see how severe the grinding is.

Young children who grind their teeth may not require any intervention. However, if your child is older or the damage is noticeable, the dentist may suggest treatment.

The most common intervention for teeth grinding is a mouth guard. Mouth guards are made from either acrylic or other soft materials, and they keep the teeth separated. While mouth guards do not treat teeth grinding, they prevent further damage to teeth.

If your child has tooth damage from teeth grinding, they may need a bridge or crown to restore their tooth. Children suffering from stress-related teeth grinding can benefit from a number of interventions. If they grind their teeth in their sleep, taking steps to relax before bedtime can help. Have your child take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, or read a book.

Talk to your child to determine if their anxiety is tied to something specific. Parents may be able to help lessen their child’s fears just by talking it out. If your child’s anxiety is really severe, consider making an appointment with a counselor. Addressing the source of stress will also treat the teeth grinding.


Often, child who grind their teeth will grow out of it. However, it is important to talk to their dentist about any concerns that you may have. When it comes to your child’s dental health, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Author Bio:

Kylie Hemswort is a writer who has been blogging about health, fitness, and family for nearly 10 years. She has served as a marketing consultant for small businesses and private practices, including Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas.


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