Why Is My Child Grinding Their Teeth At Night?

Teeth grinding is not limited to adults. In fact, it has been estimated that between 15-33% of kids grind their teeth. If you think your child may be grinding their teeth at night, the team at Sea of Smiles wants to ensure that parents are fully informed about the causes and effects of this issue. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you notice your child grinding his or her teeth:

What Is Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)?   

Teeth grinding is a “parafunctional” condition characterized by clenching your teeth, grinding them together, or gnashing them unconsciously. It can happen during the day, but it is much more common at night during sleep.

Mild teeth grinding is not usually harmful and does not require treatment. However, heavier, constant grinding can cause issues like jaw pain, headaches, and premature tooth wear. If you believe that your child is grinding their teeth, it’s best to consult with a pediatric dentist like Dr. Mukund Patel or Dr. Raj Patel at Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry.

Recognizing Signs Of Teeth Grinding In Kids

Here are a few common signs to look out for if you suspect that your child is grinding their teeth: 

  • Grinding noises while your child sleeps – If your child is grinding their teeth heavily, it will usually be audible as a scraping, popping, crunching sound. If your child is regularly making these sounds, you should consult with a dentist.

  • Complaints of a sore jaw or face – Grinding puts a lot of abnormal stress on the jaw muscles. Normally, our teeth only meet when we bite, smile, or chew. However, grinding keeps them in contact for long periods of time under heavy pressure, so this can result in complaints of a sore jaw or face.

  • Pain or difficulty chewing – Grinding can make the ligaments and support structures below the tooth feel sensitive due to the pressure placed on them at night, which can result in pain or problems chewing.

  • Unusual wear & tear on their teeth – This must be diagnosed by a dentist. Unusual wear and tear on the teeth may indicate grinding along with a bad bite or poor tooth alignment.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth At Night? Common Causes

Teeth grinding can be caused by a wide variety of different issues, but these are the most common reasons why your kid might be grinding their teeth at night:

  • Anxiety & stress – Just like adults, kids can grind their teeth due to day-to-day stress and anxiety.

  • An improper bite – If your child’s teeth are not aligned properly or their bite is not healthy, their teeth may not make healthy contact. This can lead to jaw imbalances and issues that result in teeth grinding.

  • As a response to other types of pain – Young kids may grind their teeth as a response to other types of pain. Earaches and the irritation of teething, for example, can be relieved somewhat by clenching and grinding.

Worried About Your Child’s Teeth Grinding? Come To Sea Of Smiles! 

It’s important to note that teeth grinding is often something that kids grow out of as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth come in. However, it’s still a serious oral health issue, and if you think that your child is grinding heavily, it’s a good idea to get a dentist’s opinion on the situation.

Whether you’re in Yardley, Bensalem or Warrington, Sea of Smiles can help. Give us a call at (267) 392-5878 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mukund or Dr. Raj Patel, and get the help your child needs!