Why Is My Child Grinding Their Teeth?

Teeth grinding is more common than you may think, especially in children. Also known as bruxism, this condition occurs at night while the child is asleep and not aware of this behavior. 

Is bruxism a serious problem or can you just wait it out? 

Here's what you need to know about why your child is grinding their teeth. 

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the constant act of grinding and clenching the teeth. While most people grind their teeth while they are asleep, some also do it during the day when they are stressed or anxious. 

If your child grinds their teeth during the night, it might be a bit more difficult to detect it. However, some symptoms can give you some clues that your child has bruxism. 

Signs of bruxism include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain around the ear 
  • Jaw pain
  • Worn out teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Grinding sounds 

Bruxism in children usually goes away by itself and it's not a reason to worry. But if it persists, it is important to seek medical help. 

Long-term consequences of bruxism include:

  • Fractured teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • TMJ disorder 
  • Eating problems 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

More often than not, teeth grinding in children is the result of several factors combined. The reasons can be genetic, environmental, or psychological. 


Some studies have linked stress and bruxism, although more research is needed to better understand this connection. It seems that stressful situations can cause children to grind their teeth. Pressure at school, bullying, too much homework, and so on can cause stress that can lead to bruxism. 


Just like stress, anxiety can also lead to bruxism. Children that have been shown to have a more restless personality also tend to grind and clench their teeth. This can change as the child grows and learns ways to manage themselves emotionally. 

Sleep Disorders 

Another reason a child can develop bruxism is if they suffer from a sleep disorder. Parasomnia, snoring, or their breathing style, such as breathing through their mouths, can add to the reasons why a child is grinding their teeth. 

Misaligned Teeth

Misaligned teeth are another reason that might cause bruxism in children. The same can happen if they are under orthodontic treatment.

Is Your Child Grinding Their Teeth? Give Us a Call! 

It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of your child's bruxism. While these factors might have a say in your child's tendency to grind their teeth, the reasons can be more complex than this. 

If you suspect that your child is grinding their teeth, then you should talk to a pediatric dentist about it. They can help you determine the cause and find the best treatment for your little one. 

Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics specializes in providing gentle pediatric dentistry and orthodontic treatment for all ages.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. 

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