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My child grinds his teeth, what should I do?


A child who grinds his or her teeth suffers from bruxism. Although this phenomenon also affects adults, children are the main ones concerned.

Tooth grinding in children usually occurs early and tends to disappear by adolescence.

What causes children to grind their teeth?  

Although it can also happen during the day, a child who grinds his or her teeth will tend to do so while sleeping. The causes of bruxism are sometimes a little complicated to determine, as there are several factors that can cause it.

Some studies show that bruxism in children generally occurs at the time of the appearance of baby teeth or later, when the permanent teeth are growing in. Stress is also recognized as one of the main triggers.

Tooth grinding in children can also be related to:

  • Misalignment of the jaw
  • A head injury
  • The presence of intestinal parasites.

In rarer cases, bruxism can be a side effect of certain medications.

In the medium and long term, a child who grinds his or her teeth may face complications:

  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Cavities
  • Hypersensitivity of the teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Incorrect positioning of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Tinnitus
  • Etc.

These are all symptoms that can help you identify the presence of bruxism in your child.

How to treat a child who grinds his teeth?

Generally, bruxism tends to fade or disappear naturally during adolescence. However, if your child grinds his or her teeth, it is essential to take him or her to a pedodontist.

The practitioner will identify the cause(s) of the bruxism and apply the appropriate treatment. This follow-up visit helps limit the harmful impact of bruxing on the teeth and jaw positioning.

In the event that bruxism occurs on baby teeth, the consequences are usually less severe.

However, a child who grinds his or her teeth when he or she already has his or her permanent teeth is exposed to health problems that can last into adulthood. In these cases, measures should be taken.

The treatment to prevent teeth grinding will depend mainly on the cause.

Bruxism due to misalignment of the teeth or jaw

If bruxism is the result of misalignment of the teeth or jaw, the practitioner may recommend the use of a mouthpiece to limit the problems associated with grinding.

This can be corrected with orthodontics and braces or a functional educator.

Tooth grinding and medication

If the child's teeth grinding is the result of a medication side effect, the dentist will simply modify or stop the treatment.

Stress and teeth grinding in children

Finally, a child who grinds his teeth may be affected by a stressful situation:

  • Change of school
  • Moving
  • Family problems
  • Reviews
  • Etc.

Here, the parents and the dentist will have to identify the reasons for this anxiety and adopt the appropriate techniques to remedy it. The practitioner can then inform the parents about relaxation techniques and jaw relaxation exercises.

In case of severe pain, the professional may prescribe muscle relaxants or recommend wearing a mouthpiece.

Is your child grinding his or her teeth and complaining of jaw pain? Consider contacting Dr. Agachi's office for a check-up appointment. A pedodontist in Paris, she welcomes you in a warm and modern setting.

A specialist in pediatric dentistry, she will identify the cause of your child's teeth grinding and provide the appropriate care.

Frequently asked questions about teeth grinding in children

Why does my child grind his teeth at night?

There are several possible causes of bruxism, but the main ones are teething, the appearance of permanent teeth or stress.

What should I do if my child grinds his teeth?

A pedodontist should be consulted to determine the cause of the bruxism. If the teeth grinding is related to a bad position of the jaws, the dentist will correct it. If it's related to stress, the parents will have to find the reason. In this case, the pedodontist can suggest muscle relaxation exercises or the use of a mouthpiece.

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Pediatric dentistry is all about working together for the well-being of your children!


Do you have a question? Dr. Adriana Agachi is at your disposal!

+33 (0)1 84 17 77 47

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