Teeth Grinding in Children

Teeth grinding, or bruxism refers to excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw and is common in children. The first indication is the noise created by your child grinding on his or her teeth during sleep. Or you may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to your little one’s dentition.

Although teeth grinding is often the result of stress in adults, the same is not necessarily true with children. If your little one’s grinding is not the result of stress, other possible causes include irritation in the mouth, inner ear pressure, allergies, and misaligned teeth.

The good news is that, because your child’s teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly, teeth grinding is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment. Most kids outgrow it by adolescence. However, if excessive wearing of the teeth is present, we may recommend wearing a nightguard.

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask us about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.

Mouthguards for Kids


For protecting teeth, mouthguards are essential for kids in sports such as football, basketball, rugby, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, or martial arts. Mouthguards can offer protection for the lips, teeth and also can accommodate kids with braces.

When looking to buy a kid’s mouthguard, there are a few things to look for. First, make sure they have the right size. Nothing is more uncomfortable than having to use a mouthguard that is too big or too small. You can always consult your pediatric dentist on this topic to discuss sizing and fit.

Second, ensure the mouthguard provides sufficient airflow for your child and that your child finds it easy to breathe with the mouthguard in. A properly fitted mouthguard should not significantly impact your child’s ventilation or speech, although braces can pose a challenge.

If your child has braces, make sure to look for a mouthguard that is compatible. This usually means the mouthguard will be a bit wider than a regular one.

Custom mouthguards can also be fitted by your dentist. These will cost more than regular mouthguards, but they offer the most accurate fit and comfort for your child and for kids with braces.