Up to a third of children grind their teeth, typically while they’re asleep, although some grind during the daytime when anxious. Most children grow out of the habit around the time their baby teeth fall out.
If a parent or sibling doesn’t hear the sound of grinding, the dentist may spot signs of it as affected teeth will be worn down or chipped. Other signs include a sore jaw upon waking or while chewing food. If untreated, grinding results in sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks.
Teeth grinding in children can be the result of worrying, other conditions such as cerebral palsy or hyperactivity disorder or simply misaligned teeth.
Ensuring a relaxing bedtime routine can help prevent grinding, including limiting TV and screen time, playing calming music and a warm bath or shower.
If these techniques to prevent grinding are unsuccessful, the dentist can provide a custom mouthguard that is specially designed to fit your child’s teeth, to prevent damage to the jaw. Sore jaws can be soothed using ice packs or warmth. You can also speak to your doctor if you’re worried about your child’s grinding.