How to Stop Teeth Grinding in a Child

By Alicia Bodine
Teeth grinding is a problem for children during sleep.
Teeth grinding is a problem for children during sleep.

Teeth grinding, known in the medical community as bruxism, typically occurs when a child is sleeping. This disorder can cause the wearing away of tooth enamel, the cracking of a filling, jaw pain and sometimes headaches. In some cases, the child grinds his teeth so loud that other family members can hear it. After parents recognize that their child is grinding his teeth, a plan can be implemented to stop the undesirable habit.

Wait it out. According to, half of the 3- to 10-year-old children who grind their teeth stop on their own before the age of 13.

Take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam. The dentist will be able to tell if any damage was done by the teeth grinding, or if there is a medical cause for it, such as malocclusion, a condition that describes when when a child's teeth don't line up properly.

Use a night bite plate or a bite splint to stop the teeth grinding from damaging your child's teeth until he breaks the habit. Your child's dentist will know whether your child's bruxism is severe enough to warrant using one of these devices.

Observe your child to see if she is stressed out, as stress is often the cause of teeth grinding. If your child is experiencing stress, treat the cause of the stress to get the teeth grinding to stop. For example, if your child is nervous about sleeping with the lights off, get her a nightlight and stay with her until she falls asleep.


Place a warm washcloth on your child's jaw if it becomes sore after a night of teeth grinding.

Since a child's first visit to a pediatric dentist should occur sometime between a child's first and second birthday, you should already have an expert to consult with if your child starts grinding his teeth.

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.