Should I Be Concerned About My Child Grinding Their Teeth?

Mother and daughter hugging each other

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a very common condition that affects people of all ages, although it is often seen in kids as well. Bruxism can occur while you’re awake or asleep, and over time, it can cause severe damage to your teeth and lead to other dental problems like TMJ(temporomandibular joint) pain and dysfunction. This blog discusses what bruxism is, the causes of teeth grinding, why teeth grinding is a problem, and what your treatment options are for dealing with bruxism.

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If you’ve noticed your child grinding their teeth, you may wonder how problematic that action is and if it should be of any concern. 

What Is Bruxism

Bruxism is when a person grinds their teeth and clenches their jaw. Kids, teens, and adults of any age can all experience bruxism, though it is commonly seen in kids. Teeth grinding is common, and some kids have mild cases that they grow out of without long-term damage. However, for many kids and adults alike, uneven teeth and misalignment may contribute to this often nocturnal habit. 

What Causes Teeth Grinding

There is no one clear answer for what causes teeth grinding, though it is likely that it is the result of physical, psychological, and genetic factors all working together. Some people only experience unconscious teeth grinding while they are awake (awake bruxism), and others only experience it in their sleep (sleep bruxism). 

Awake bruxism is often seen as a physical response to dealing with stressful situations or anxiety triggers. It can also be a reflexive response when you’re upset and your body tenses up. For some people, clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth is a concentration habit they are unaware of when focusing on something important. 

Sleep bruxism may result from other sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea. Grinding your teeth while sleeping can also be due to stress and anxiety. 

Why Is it Bad to Grind Your Teeth? 

If teeth grinding persists and worsens, it can result in more severe, long-term problems.  Whatever the reason, bruxism can chip teeth and wear down the enamel, leading to costly dental work to restore the teeth. Repeated teeth grinding is also linked to TMJ (temporomandibular joints) disorder, which can cause jaw pain and difficulty chewing foods. 

How to Stop Grinding Teeth 

Are you wondering about your options for dealing with teeth grinding? Depending on the severity of the bruxism and the current state of your teeth, mouth guards, orthodontics, tooth restorations, or TMJ treatment may be necessary to treat current damage and prevent further dental issues. 

Custom Night Guards

Wearing a mouth guard at night is one of the best ways to prevent tooth damage from sleep bruxism. Mouth guards are customized to fit your unique mouth shape and create a barrier between the teeth to prevent them from grinding when your jaw clenches. 


You may be more susceptible to damage from teeth grinding if your teeth don’t align properly. At La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics, we provide various orthodontics services, such as Invisalign®, to straighten your teeth and minimize the possibility of damaging your teeth from bruxism. 


Tooth restorations such as crowns and veneers can be excellent for chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged teeth from excessive grinding. 

TMJ Treatment 

For treating TMJ, a combination of a TMJ appliance or night guard, crowns, and implants may be used to correct the bite alignment. BOTOX injections are also an option for relaxing the jaw and minimizing the pain that TMJ causes. 

Want to Learn More About Teeth Grinding and Dental Care in San Diego, CA

If you want to learn more about teeth grinding and dental care options, call La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics at 858-295-0603 or fill out our online contact form today!