Dear Dr. Cory:
My daughter is always grinding her teeth. I am constantly asking her to stop and explaining to her how harmful it is to her teeth. But it’s only getting worse. Any suggestions?
Michael J. Hanna, D.M.D., a spokesperson from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, answers your question:
“Tooth grinding, a common event, should be evaluated by a pediatric dentist. While it may be a habit that will pass with age, it is important to rule out problems such as teething, tooth decay, and possible developmental and communication issues. For example, might the child be frustrated about something but unable to explain it? Sometimes something as simple as coloring may become frustrating to a toddler who can’t stay inside the lines. Family issues may also increase a child’s stress level. Likewise, frequent reminders to stop grinding may actually increase the behavior. Another thought is to check for potential ear problems and whether the teeth are aligned properly.
“Although grinding may sound alarming, there usually is no damage to the teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum may help if the child is old enough to do so. A mouth guard can be used at night if the teeth show signs of wear. Various articles on development note that highly intelligent children are prone to grinding.”
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Disclaimer: The Ask Dr. Cory health information is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your family doctor when you have medical questions or concerns about you or your family's health. If this is an emergency, call 911, or contact emergency services in your area.