Why Is My Toddler Grinding Their Teeth In Sleep?

January 15, 2024

It’s a big deal when your child sprouts their first tooth. After all, it means they’re one step closer to speaking their first words. However, the downside of having a toddler come into their teeth is their habit of grinding and clenching teeth. While it is common for adults to clench their jaw, did you know that children are just as likely to follow suit? In most cases, toddlers end up grinding their teeth in sleep, unaware of their habits. Even though this is not usually a cause for concern, if proper steps aren’t taken to stop the habit from developing, it could lead to serious dental troubles down the line.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is an oral condition where the person is prone to grinding and clenching their teeth. Usually, there are two types of bruxism: sleep bruxism, where you grind your teeth when asleep, and awake bruxism when you unconsciously clench your teeth while awake. However, regardless of the type, most people with bruxism aren’t aware of what they are doing.

Bruxism typically starts in children as a sleeping habit, although over time, it does seem to stop. There are only some cases where people do not outgrow it but rather carry it with them to adulthood.

Causes of Bruxism

Despite being a sleeping habit, there are plenty of reasons why a child might develop this condition. Mentioned below are some of the most common causes of bruxism.

  1. If a child has yet to sprout other teeth, they may resort to clenching or grinding their jaw to relieve some of the teething pain.
  2. A misaligned bite can make it difficult to rest the mouth properly, which leads to teeth grinding.
  3. Stress or change tends to offset a toddler’s routine, making them clench their teeth in sleep.
  4. Underlying health conditions like cerebral palsy, hyperactivity, etc., can cause bruxism.
  5. On rare occasions, it could just be a medicinal side effect.

Is It Normal for Toddlers to Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?

Surprisingly, teeth grinding isn’t as concerning as it looks. In fact, it is quite common for toddlers to grind their teeth when they are asleep. This is because it is a way for them to relieve some of the teething pain, especially if they still have teeth that are in the process of erupting.

Not to mention, some children clench their teeth because they do not know how to rest their mouths. For them, it is a way of coming to terms with their teeth and exploring the insides of their mouth. Once all their baby teeth are out, children tend to stop grinding their teeth. It’s only on rare occasions that they may form it as a habit and continue grinding or clenching their teeth as adults.

How Do I Stop My Toddler From Grinding His Teeth in Sleep?

Bruxism can manifest in many ways, be it temporary or permanent. However, the best way to avoid it from getting worse is by getting your child evaluated by a pediatric dentist. Based on their habits and oral health, the dentist might recommend a night guard for your child. However, it ultimately depends on the toddler’s age and the seriousness of their habit. If they keep grinding their teeth to the point of loosening the tooth or changing its shape, a night guard might be necessary.

In A Nutshell

The idea of your toddler grinding their teeth in sleep might seem concerning, but at that age, it’s quite common, as it helps them manage teething pain and explore their mouths. Nevertheless, if you still have doubts or are worried about your child’s oral health, don’t hesitate to contact the dental experts at GLO Dental Group today by dialing (832) 501-3471 (Houston) or (832) 400-4383 (Cypress).



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