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American Family Children's Hospital
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Pediatric Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is repeated grinding or clenching of the teeth while asleep. It is quite common in children. In the majority of cases, teeth grinding doesn't cause any harm and is temporary. However, some children with bruxism may eventually develop problems, such as jaw and face pain or tooth damage over time.

 

Teeth Grinding in Babies

 

Almost 50 percent of babies grind their teeth. It usually begins at about 10 months of age, after a baby has their two top front teeth and the two bottom front teeth. In babies, teeth grinding is not of any concern and eventually goes away on its own. It is nothing to be alarmed about as it is highly unlikely that any dental damage will result. However, if the teeth grinding is worrisome or if there are any changes in your child’s teeth, you should see a dentist.

 

Teeth Grinding in Children and Adolescents

 

Teeth grinding also occurs in children and adolescents. It is especially common in young children. It usually starts around 3 years of age, up until around age 6, when adult teeth start coming in. Teeth grinding becomes less common as a child gets older. Bruxism is also more common in children with other conditions, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

 

Symptoms of teeth grinding may include tooth pain and sensitivity to extreme temperatures, as well as inflammation of the gums and dental erosion.

 

What Can You Do About Bruxism

 

Bruxism in infants and occasional teeth grinding in older children does not require any intervention. However, if your child is experiencing headaches, having tooth pain or is wearing down their teeth, you should discuss it with your child's dentist. In addition, certain things may increase teeth grinding, such as stress, allergies and some medications.

 

Treatment for teeth grinding can include biofeedback or sleeping on their back with neck support.