About teeth-grinding or bruxism
Many children grind their teeth at some stage. Some children clench their jaws quite firmly. Others grind so hard that it makes a noise.
Children who grind their teeth at night won’t usually wake up because of the noise they’re making – but other people in the room might!
Teeth-grinding is also called bruxism.
In most cases, teeth-grinding doesn’t cause any damage to children’s teeth. Teeth-grinding might damage teeth in only a few very extreme cases, where the grinding is very regular and very strong.
When to seek help for teeth-grinding
If you’re worried about your child’s teeth-grinding, talk to a health professional, like your GP or dentist. Devices to protect teeth or prevent grinding can help. You can talk to your dentist about these.
If your child grinds their teeth and also snores loudly, breathes with their mouth open, or chokes or gasps while they’re asleep, it’s a good idea to see your GP. This can help you rule out issues like sleep apnoea.
Why children grind their teeth
Nobody knows for sure why children grind their teeth.
They might do it because:
- Their top and bottom teeth aren’t lined up.
- They have pain somewhere else in their bodies.
- They’re stressed.
Some children grind their teeth during the day because they enjoy the feeling.
In most cases, it’s likely to be just a childhood habit that children grow out of.