Common Causes of Teeth Grinding in Children

August 24, 2023

Common Causes of Teeth Grinding in Children

Teeth grinding is fairly common in children. It's estimated that about 30% of kids grind their teeth in early childhood. Often, this habit goes away on its own after the age of six. 

If your child grinds their teeth and you would like to understand the cause and how you can help them, then this article is for you.

Why Is My Child Grinding Their Teeth?

We don't know for sure why children grind their teeth, but some possible causes could include: 

  • Stress and Anxiety: If your child is dealing with a stressful situation at school or home, they may start to grind their teeth as a way to cope with the anxiety. 
  • Sleep Disorders: If your child is diagnosed with sleep apnea, they may grind their teeth too. 
  • Alignment Issues: Children who have misaligned teeth (malocclusion) may grind their teeth. Schedule an appointment with their dentist to see if your little one needs orthodontic treatment. 
  • Growth and Development: Some children grind their teeth during periods of growth and development and may naturally stop as they grow older.

How to Help Your Child Manage Teeth Grinding 

As we said, teeth grinding is normal among children younger than five years old. However, if your child is older than six and continues to grind their teeth, you may want to address the situation as this habit can damage their teeth and cause jaw pain and stiffness. 

  • Address Stress and Anxiety: If your child's teeth grinding is stress-related, help them find ways to relax before bedtime. This might involve a calming routine such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, cuddling, and so on.
  • Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule: A regular sleep schedule can help the child's body adjust to predictable times for sleeping and waking, which might reduce teeth grinding.
  • Encourage Proper Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing can keep the child's teeth and gums healthy, reducing the likelihood of teeth grinding caused by tooth or gum pain.
  • Make Sure They Don't Use Their Teeth as Tools: Make sure your child doesn't use their teeth to open packages or to chew on pencils, pens, or anything that isn't food. This habit can condition the jaw muscles to clench and increase the likelihood of teeth grinding. 
  • Offer a Balanced Diet: It's been shown that nutrient deficiencies could potentially contribute to bruxism. Make sure your child has a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Dental Checkups: Take your child to regular dental check-ups as this can help catch the signs of teeth grinding early and prevent further damage.
  • Consider Using a Nightguard: If your child's teeth have been affected by this habit, you can talk to their dentist about using a night guard to protect their teeth during sleep.

How Pinky Promise Pediatric Dentistry Can Help 

If your child grinds their teeth, it's best to bring them to Pinky Promise Pediatric Dentistry so Dr. Neelon Patel can have a look at their oral health and help you determine the cause and best course of action. 

Contact us today to book your little one's appointment.

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