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The Daily Grind

Teeth after grinding
The results of a child grinding their teeth

Grind, grind, grind...if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what is medically known as bruxism, is common in children. In fact, almost 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies. Kids typically outgrow teeth grinding by the time they reach their early teenage years.

Many kids who grind their teeth in their sleep don’t even realize they are doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, shoulder, or headache pain. Most often, if it hadn’t been for a parent or sibling telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed by the child.

There are children, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications, from worn and cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw. Your dentist can tell you if your child’s teeth grinding is not something to be concerned with or just monitor. Teeth grinding, especially when all of the permanent teeth are in,  can have serious consequences that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ.

The first step in helping your child recover from teeth grinding is noticing and diagnosing the problem. Symptoms of teeth grinding typically include:

  • Grinding sounds when your child is sleeping

  • Complaints of tightness or pain in the jaw

  • Complaints of headaches, earaches, or facial pain

  • Complaints of pain when chewing

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

If you suspect your child is a teeth grinder, our doctors and our team will be able to help. Please contact us at one of our 2 offices (West Portland or North Portland) if you have questions,

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


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