Why is my child grinding their teeth?

Post by: / March 3, 2016

Why is my child grinding their teeth?

Parents often report that they can overhear their child grinding their teeth at night. This is confirmed by the presence of excessive wear on children’s teeth. Is this something that parents should be worried about?

What is grinding?

Grinding is when teeth are clenched together, usually at night, and are moved back and forth repeatedly. This causes the teeth to wear down. You will often hear the grinding from your child’s room, but they probably don’t even know they are doing it!

How common is it?

Studies have shown that about 1/3 of children grind their teeth. It is very common!

Why is my child grinding their teeth?

There are many reasons a child may be grinding their teeth, although there is no clear cause. Some things that may be correlated with increased tooth grinding are parents who grind their teeth, sleeptalking, or certain psychological disorders. Certain bite problems (ex. crossbites) may be a cause for grinding as the child cannot find a comfortable bite. Often there is no clear reason why the child is grinding their teeth.

What can I do about the grinding?

Often, the grinding of baby teeth starts to decline once more adult teeth come in, around age 7. There is usually no treatment needed for a child who is grinding while they have mostly baby teeth in their mouth. If the teeth are wearing down a lot or they are biting their palates a bite plate may be recommended. If there is an associated bite problem (ex. crossbite) treatment for this may be necessary.

Do I need to worry about my child grinding their teeth?

Generally, grinding is not significant enough to cause a lot of damage to the baby or adult teeth in children. It is usually not something to worry about. Your dentist, paediatric dentist or orthodontist can advise you if any treatment is needed to prevent damage to your child’s teeth or gums.

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