Hearing a baby grinding teeth is probably one of the harsher sounds parents can hear, but is it a sign of deeper medical conditions?

Nearly one-third of children grind their teeth, often during their sleep. Teeth grinding can happen in very young children, even babies who have just gotten their teeth. The medical term for teeth grinding is called sleep bruxism.

Causes of bruxism

While many adults grind their teeth because of stress, a baby grinding teeth is generally a behavioural pattern rather than a pathological problem.

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This will often happen in deep phases of sleep and may be aggravated in children where the top and bottom teeth are not properly aligned. Sometimes, it may also be a response to pain from teething.

How to stop baby grinding teeth

Bruxism in babies and young kids is generally not worrying and most will grow out of this habit.

However, if it persists, see your child’s dentist or GP for reassurance. If they are concerned, then a paediatric referral may be needed.

Older children with bruxism may damage their adult permanent teeth. In rare cases, they may develop temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ) from constantly clenching their jaw muscles.

Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

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