What are the Signs of Teeth Grinding in Children?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2018
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Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to detect the signs of teeth grinding in children. In many cases, parents initially become aware of it when they hear a child grinding his teeth while he sleeps. If a child experiences headaches or pain in the jaw, this can indicate teeth grinding as well. Sometimes, however, parents do not make the connection between this type of discomfort and a child's teeth. In many cases, a dentist's examination may help to reveal this problem, however, as signs such as jaw tenderness, tooth fractures, and loose teeth may make a dentist suspect teeth grinding.

The most obvious sign of teeth grinding in children may be the sound a child makes while he is grinding his teeth. While a child may be totally unaware that he grinds his teeth, a parent may hear the sound of grinding when the child is asleep. Often, this occurs during nighttime sleep, but some children grind their teeth during naps as well. It is important to note that some children only grind their teeth occasionally, such as when they are ill or in pain. Others, however, grind their teeth on a frequent basis, and this may make them more prone to tooth damage.


Others signs of teeth grinding in children include pain and discomfort during the child’s waking hours. For example, some children develop headaches as a result of teeth grinding at night. If a child is old enough to describe the headache pain he feels, he may describe it as dull and constant. Additionally, some children experience pain in the jaw, which may be constant or come and go, as a result of teeth grinding.

One of the most definite signs of teeth grinding in children is a dentist's observation of jaw and tooth problems. A dentist's examination may reveal jaw tenderness that can indicate teeth grinding. A dentist may also look for signs of damage to the teeth. In some cases, the damage may be minor, especially if the teeth grinding has recently developed, is not severe, or doesn't happen on a nightly basis. Sometimes, however, damage to the teeth can include such problems as fractures and loose teeth. A severe case of teeth grinding could even cause a child to lose teeth.

Fortunately, a dentist can treat teeth grinding in children. In most cases, this involves providing a mouth guard to prevent it. If the teeth grinding is related to stress or a health condition, steps may be taken to treat or minimize these issues. Reducing the child’s caffeine intake may prove helpful as well.



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