Teeth Grinding Explained

Teeth Grinding in Children

Unlike in the case of adults, where the majority of teeth grinding comes from stress, bruxism in children seems to be independent of pressure or anxiety. Although its cause in kids is largely unknown, it appears children can grind their teeth more out of habit, or perhaps as a soothing mechanism, rather than as a way of dealing with stress.

Another potential cause of juvenile bruxism can be the eruption of teeth. The statistics seem to bear this out: Teeth grinding is found in about 50 percent of infants as they teethe, and that number drops to about 30 percent as kids get ready to enter school. By the age of 7 or 8, the percentage drops dramatically again and by the age of 12 -- once all of the adult teeth have come in -- it typically disappears altogether [source: Minciotti].

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is not usually necessary to treat bruxism in children under age 8. This is supported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry who contend that the condition should only be treated "when the habit is of sufficient persistence, duration or intensity to damage the permanent teeth or cause other complications that affect the child's well-being" [source: Minciotti]. If childhood bruxism needs to be addressed, the most common treatment is a mouth guard.

For more information on topics related to bruxism, keep reading.

Related Articles


  • Anderson, Barbara. "When Life is a Grind, Teeth Feel the Stress." Chicago Tribune. Apr. 14, 2009. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-health-teeth-stress,0,5415567.story
  • Bendall, Lisa. "6 things you should know about teeth grinding." Best Health. July 2010. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/oral-health/six-things-you-should-know-about-teeth-grinding
  • Calaman, Barney. "How to stop teeth-grinding ... with a little help from Botox." Daily Mail. Mar. 21, 2009. (Dec. 12, 2011). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1163679/How-stop-teeth-grinding---little-help-Botox.html
  • CBS News. "Grinding Away Stress With Your Teeth?" Oct. 14, 2009. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/14/health/healthy_living/main5384169.shtml
  • Colgate (Reviewed by the Faculty of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. "Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)." (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Common-Concerns/Bruxism-Tooth-Grinding/article/Bruxism-Teeth-Grinding.cvsp
  • GrindCare. "GrindCare can reduce teeth grinding." (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.grindcare.com/us/grindcare/grindcare.html
  • Hurst, David. "Tiny electric shock that will stop you grinding your teeth." The Daily Mail. Mar. 9, 2010. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1256440/Tiny-electric-shock-stop-grinding-teeth.html
  • Jung, Hellen. "A Q&A on teeth-grinding in children: Do you need to worry?" The Oregonian. Mar. 24, 2011. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://blog.oregonlive.com/themombeat/2011/03/teeth-grinding_in_children_do.html
  • Kramer, Keri. "Tough Economy Takes Its Toll on Teeth." Chicago Dental Society. Feb. 11, 2010. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.cds.org/Page2Column.aspx?PageID=34&id=418&terms=grinding
  • Massachusetts Dental Society. "Grinding Teeth: Breaking the Habit of the Daily Grind." (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.massdental.org/content.aspx?id=878
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Bruxism/teeth grinding." Mayo Clinic. May 19, 2011. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bruxism/DS00337/DSECTION=preparing-for-your-appointment
  • Minciotti Dr., Helen. "What to do about teeth-grinding toddlers." The Daily Herald. May 24, 2010. (Dec. 12, 2010.) http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20100524/entlife/305249993/
  • PubMed Health. "Bruxism: Teeth grinding and clenching." A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Feb. 22, 2010. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002386/
  • sharecare.com. "Is teeth grinding a problem only among adults?" (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.sharecare.com/question/grinding-problem-only-among-adults
  • sharecare.com. "What is teeth grinding (bruxism)?" (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.sharecare.com/question/what-is-teeth-grinding-bruxism
  • Sweeney, Camille. "When Stress Takes a Toll on Your Teeth." New York Times. Oct. 7, 2009. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/fashion/08SKIN.html?pagewanted=all
  • Wong, Kathleen. "The nightly grind: Dentists and doctors explore the reasons behind nocturnal tooth grinding." American Chemical Society. (Dec. 12, 2011) http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/tcaw/10/i08/html/08heal.html

More to Explore