7 Reasons Your Baby Might Be Grinding Teeth — Is it Harmful?

June 15, 2023

Dental care is essential from the moment the first tooth sprouts through a baby’s gums. Your infant may be unable to talk or speak, but they can communicate their needs and wants using non-verbal cues. Hence, even if they cannot tell you they are in pain, you can still keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort, crying, and more. Similarly, your little one might attempt to capture your attention by gnashing their teeth together — which could be detrimental to their dental health. A baby might be grinding their teeth for a number of reasons, including non-dental ones. Carry on reading this blog to learn all about teeth grinding in toddlers!

Why is My Baby Grinding Teeth?

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a common occurrence after the baby starts teething. According to research, 20 to 30 percent of children gnash their teeth or clench their jaw while they sleep when they are stressed, and more. It may concern you, as a parent, to hear the sounds of your baby gnashing teeth, but you can talk to your pediatric dentist for treatment. Here are some reasons why your toddler might be grinding their teeth:

  1. New Teeth: When the first few teeth erupt, kids take some time to become familiar with the new sensation. So, all the gnashing might just be because they are experimenting with this new body part. And, since they only have a few teeth, the bite is not set — causing teeth grinding.
  2. Disorders: Our body is a unified system working together, whether it is an adult or an infant. Hence, teeth grinding in toddlers might be an indicator of other conditions such as sleep apnea, epilepsy, night terrors, ADHD, and more.
  3. Medications: Many children who are being treated for ADHD or other conditions might take medications that increase the possibility of teeth grinding.
  4. Pain: Many times, grinding teeth is the way a baby relieves the pain in their teeth, gums, or ear, which may be a result of teething. In simple, you can see it as their way of communicating and alleviating the pain.
  5. Sore Gums: The process of teething could bring a few complications, such as soreness in the gums. A baby who is 3 to 4 months may gnash their teeth or clench their jaw together as a way to relieve sore gums.
  6. Stress: Grinding teeth or bruxism is a method for dealing with emotions such as stress or anxiety for many children. Hence, it may not be something physical but emotional or mental factors that cause teeth grinding. Older children and adults, too, grind their teeth as a result of stress.
  7. Weaning: Often, when it is time for weaning, the child might start to grind their teeth while dealing with the end of nursing.

Potential Complications Associated With Bruxism

If your baby is grinding teeth, it could affect their dental-facial development. Here are some complications that could follow bruxism:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Sensitivity in teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Chipped teeth
  • Flat teeth
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Introduce Your Baby to Optimal Dental Care

When a baby reaches different milestones, many issues arise. Hence, your baby might start teeth grinding when they start teething or as a result of other factors. You can deal with this issue by visiting our specialist at Whole Health Dental Center at 7115 Leesburg Pike, Suite 310, Falls Church, VA 22043. Or, make a call at (703) 385-6425 to schedule an appointment.

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