Diploma debate: The requirements for your kids to graduate could be very different

Is your child's teeth grinding normal?

Teeth grinding – which is also known as bruxism – is very common in children, especially among toddlers and preschoolers.

»RELATED: Does my child have ADHD? Things to know about the condition

If you hear your child doing this at night, or if they have symptoms of teeth grinding, here's what you need to know about whether this habit is anything to be concerned about:

How many kids grind their teeth?

About 20-30 percent of kids grind their teeth or clench their jaws. They usually outgrow it, often by age 6, but some will continue to grind their teeth beyond this age.

If you have any concerns or if your child is experiencing discomfort, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends talking to your child's dentist about the possible causes and solutions. Regular dental visits can also help detect signs of bruxism before you may even become aware of it.

What makes kids grind their teeth?

Children can grind their teeth for a variety of reasons. In adults, it's usually caused by stress, and although that can also be true of children, it can also be caused by any of the following, according to Healthline and the ADA:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • An attempt to relieve pain, possibly from an earache or teething. Bruxism can be more common when primary or adult teeth are emerging since this can cause pain.
  • A result of certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy
  • An effect of taking certain medications
  • Allergies

In some cases, the exact cause can't be identified.

What are some signs that your child is grinding his or her teeth?

The most obvious way to tell if your child has bruxism is by listening to them when they sleep or asking a sibling who shares the same room to listen for grinding noises.

Other signs can be more subtle, and they can include the following:

  • Jaw pain
  • Frequently rubbing the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Facial pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Chipped, broken or cracked teeth
  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Disrupted sleep

Can teeth grinding be treated?

Kids will outgrow teeth grinding in many cases, and often no treatment is needed. It's not recommended that you wake your child up when you hear him grinding his teeth, since this won't solve the problem and will disrupt his ability to get a good night's sleep.

If your child's teeth grinding is caused by a problem such as an earache or stress, this underlying problem can be addressed. Ask your child specific questions to see if stress can be an issue, such as asking how they feel before bed and if they're worried about anything at home or school. Ask if they're angry at anyone or about something.

Going to bed may be stressful for your child, so you may find that establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can help set the tone for a more peaceful night.

If your child is somewhat older and teeth grinding is causing a significant amount of pain or problems such as misalignment or worn-down tooth enamel, her dentist may recommend a night guard. This retainer-like flexible piece of plastic is worn over the upper gums only at night. This type of guard can be very effective in treating teeth grinding. It's generally not used on younger kids, however, since their teeth are constantly changing, and they may not be able to wear it consistently.

In most cases, teeth grinding is something that your child will outgrow, probably without the need for treatment.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Health

Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt opens this weekend with even more scares
Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt opens this weekend with even more scares

Hundreds of monsters, ghouls and creatures of the night will take over Kings Island when Halloween Haunt opens to the public on Friday, Sept. 21. If you are looking to have a run-in with the stuff of nightmares, the Mason park has plenty to offer including some attractions that are new this year. In between, the Beast, Banshee, Diamondback, Mystic...
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible

Handcrafted mugs created by regional potters have been a sought-after collectible since Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute began in the 1970s.  The earliest mug in the DAI’s collection, from 1974, is made from glass and features a printed DAI logo. In the years following the mugs were mass produced until the idea to use local potters...
What cats see when they look in the mirror
What cats see when they look in the mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Abby, our 16-year old cat, thinks she is. When Abby could no longer jump up on the kitchen counter to eat from her bowl, we searched for a place she could easily reach but Teddy, our Lab, could not. We placed the queen bee’s bowl in front of a large mirror on the master bathroom&rsquo...
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link

Obesity affects nearly 1 in 6 children in the United States, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State of Obesity report. And new findings from the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveal there may be more contributing to that stat than overeating. Overweight children are approximately five times more...
Seven-Day Menu Planner
Seven-Day Menu Planner

9/23 Family Sunday Enjoy family day with your own Roast Chicken (5 to 7 pounds), mashed potatoes, gravy, peas with pearl onions (from frozen) and mixed greens. For dessert, drizzle creme fraiche or half-and-half over bread pudding. Plan ahead: Save...
More Stories