How To Handle ‘Teeth Grinding During Sleep’ In Toddlers?

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You might have heard the sound of your toddler grinding his or her teeth, while sleeping peacefully. The sound will be like fingernails scratching on chalkboard!

This grinding of teeth in sleep is also known as Bruxism. This need not be a worrying factor as this habit may outgrow. On the other hand, neglecting any such thing can be a matter of concern.

Grinding teeth or bruxism does not usually cause any harm. But when this occurs regularly, it can damage teeth and can cause other oral health complications. It generally occurs during sleep at night, but in some cases kids do it during day too. Daytime teeth grinding in toddlers is said to be stress related. Three out of every ten toddlers will have bruxism, but most outgrow it by the age of 11. This habit starts when the child is as early as one year old.

Causes Of Bruxism:

Reason behind toddler teeth grinding while sleeping is not yet known. While some experts say that it can be due to the following reasons:

  • Ear ache
  • Teething problem
  • Breathing problem
  • Stuffy nose
  • Allergy
  • Improper alignment of teeth
  • Psychological reasons include:
  • Weaning from breast feeding
  • Stress (caused due to new school or birth of siblings)
  • Change in daily routine

[ Read: Toddler Ear Infection ]

Signs Of Bruxism:

Toddler with Bruxism will show various signs like:

  • Biting fingernails
  • Chewing pencil
  • Chew the inside of cheek

Consult Doctor If:

You can take the kid to the dentist if you feel there is:

  • Pulp exposure
  • Worn enamel
  • Fracture or chipping of teeth
  • Increase temperature sensitivity
  • Facial pain and jaw problems

[ Read: Bronchitis In Toddler ]

Dealing With Toddler Teeth Grinding:

Here are some ways to get your toddler get out of this habit:

  • Understand the cause of teeth grinding. If you are unable to understand the reason, take him to his pediatrician.
  • Pain caused due to teeth can be easily treated with medicine like painkiller. It is better to take dentists suggestion regarding painkillers.
  • Grinding can cause headaches, or jaw pain. This too can be relieved by medicine.
  • If you think, your child suffers from stress or anxiety, you need to work on it and establish a calming moment.
  • Bedtime stories, a shower before sleep and relaxing music works like magic. It helps in releasing stress.
  • If the toddler is old enough to speak, know what is causing stress or tension in him. Calm him with good words and ease their anxiety.
  • Teach your toddler to practice relaxing the jaw by placing the tip of your tongue between the teeth. This can be taught through a playful act.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Cold In Toddlers ]


This phase slowly passes off; all you need to do is to wait. Here are the following which you can do:

  • Seek for dentist’s help. You can also keep your child under observation while you visit your doctor.
  • Dentists usually prescribe night guard. A night guard is a protective mouth piece molded to child’s teeth. It protects the teeth from chipping off. Toddlers usually take time getting used to this, but this surely gives positive result.
  • Toddlers with upper air restriction should be taken to ENT doctors.
  • Toddlers with psychological problem are recommended to visit psychologist for any therapy option.

[ Read: Nightmares In Toddlers ]

Your constant observation and motherly love can help your child get rid of bruxism. Also make sure that your toddler is stress free and taking healthy diet regularly.

Do you know any other preventive measures for toddler grinding teeth in sleep? Share your experiences and tips with other parents in the comment section below and help them understand the issue more clearly.

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