Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a common behavior in babies, toddlers, and young children that typically goes away on its own as kids get older.

Teeth Grinding in Infants, Toddlers, and Children

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a medical condition that can occur at different stages of life. It is common in infants, toddlers, and young children but usually stops by the teenage years. However, if left untreated, it can lead to damage to permanent teeth and even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Fortunately, most kids outgrow bruxism, but regular dental visits and parental support can help reduce the negative effects of teeth grinding. If your child has lost their baby teeth, it’s important that we work together to prevent teeth grinding. By doing so, we can prevent damage to their permanent teeth and avoid the development of TMJ.

graphic of grinded down teeth
  • What are common teeth grinding (bruxism) symptoms?

    • Frequent teeth grinding
    • Jaw clenching
    • Grinding loud enough to hear
    • Damaged or worn teeth
    • Earaches
  • Why do babies grind their teeth?

    Teeth grinding may start when a child is only 6 months old, or when they get their first tooth. This behavior continues as babies grow into toddlers. Toddlers’ teeth grinding typically occurs while they’re sleeping. Reasons for teeth grinding in babies and toddlers include:

    • Curiosity. When teeth come in for a baby or toddler, they are curious about the function, feelings, and sound of their new teeth. Grinding their teeth provides them a way to explore all of the new senses they are experiencing.
    • Stress response. Babies and toddlers can’t communicate that they’re stressed or unhappy and one of the ways they deal with this is by grinding their teeth.
    • Pain relief. Infants and toddlers experiencing pain from a new tooth or suffering from a toothache, just like adults do, use teeth grinding as a way to relieve their pain.
    • Medical condition. The effects of certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy or certain types of medications, can cause children to, usually uncontrollably, grind their teeth.
  • How can I get my infant or toddler to stop grinding their teeth?

    The sound of grinding teeth is certainly one parents don’t want to hear, at all. There are natural remedies or preventative measures available, depending on your child’s age.

    Baby Grinding Teeth Remedies

    Babies often grind their teeth to relieve the pain of their new teeth coming in. Providing your child with any of the following remedies should help relieve their pain:

    • Soft rubber teethers that are conforming to your child’s mouth
    • Cold rubber teething toys that can ease pain from teeth coming in
    • Silicone teething necklaces
    Toddler Grinding Teeth Remedies

    A common reason for toddlers’ teeth grinding is because it provides them with a way to relieve stress. Toddlers are also more likely to grind their teeth in their sleep. Giving your child a calming bedtime routine that is relaxing and stress-reducing can significantly help. Some calming bedtime routines include:

    • Reading a book together
    • Dimming the lights as bedtime approaches
    • Playing a white noise machine
    • Implement a screen time curfew—The Sleep Foundation recommends no screen time within the hour before bedtime.
    • Use calming scents, such as lavender, in your child’s room

    Bruxism treatment usually isn’t required until children have lost their baby teeth. If your child has their first tooth or is starting to get baby teeth—we hope to see them for their first dental visit!

More Questions?

Call our office if you have more questions about teeth grinding and the procedure, and we'll be happy to answer them.

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