Important Facts for Parents Regarding Teeth Grinding or Clenching in Children

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is common in children and can lead to dental problems and discomfort. If your child wakes up with sore jaws or exhibits symptoms of teeth grinding, it may be time to consult your pediatric dentist.

Table of Contents

What Is Bruxism in Children? 

Bruxism is when a child grinds or clenches their teeth while not chewing. It usually occurs during sleep but can also happen during waking hours. Often, they are not consciously aware that they are doing it.

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism? 

It’s common for around 15% to 20% of children to grind their teeth regularly. Parents may sometimes hear their children grinding their teeth while they sleep, but often kids, like adults, are not aware of this habit, making it difficult to identify bruxism.

Some common symptoms and signs your child may experience while grinding or clenching their teeth include:

  • Frequent headaches and earaches
  • Jaw pain or difficulty chewing
  • TMJ disorders (jaw clicking and other problems)
  • Wear and tear on the teeth or tooth sensitivity
  • Subtle mouth movements (from clenching) while the child watches TV, reads, studies, or focuses on a task
  • Chattering or grinding sounds while sleeping

What Causes Teeth Grinding in Children? 

The root cause for teeth grinding in children isn’t always 100% clear, and each case is unique. But it can usually be linked to one of these reasons:

  • Pain from teething or an earache
  • Teeth that aren’t aligned properly
  • Stress, anxiety, or excitement – this is the most common cause of teeth grinding
  • Medical reasons, like hyperactivity, cerebral palsy, or some types of medicines
  • Sleep problems like snoring or sleep apnea

What Is the Treatment for Teeth Grinding? 

Although not all cases require immediate attention, children who grind their teeth may experience long-term consequences. There is an increased risk for TMJ, jaw problems, migraines, tooth sensitivity, and worn enamel. Each case of teeth grinding is different and requires a personalized treatment which may include the following:

  • Nighttime mouth guards (for unconscious sleep grinders)
  • Proactive and defensive sealants to protect tooth enamel
  • Braces to correct alignment issues
  • Therapy or counseling to address underlying stress

How Can a Parent Help a Child with Bruxism? 

As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your child with bruxism:

  • Promote relaxation. Stress can trigger teeth clenching, so it’s important to help your child relax before bedtime. A warm bath, soothing music, or reading a book can go a long way to create a relaxing environment before bedtime.
  • Use a mouthguard. A mouthguard can help protect your child’s teeth from the damage caused by teeth grinding at night.
  • Make sure your child’s sleep environment is comfortable. Having a comfortable mattress and pillows, a cool room temperature, and minimal noise are essential for a good night’s sleep.
  • Encourage good dental hygiene. Good dental hygiene can help prevent dental problems associated with bruxism. It’s important to motivate your child to maintain good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as scheduling regular checkups with the dentist.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist. Have your child’s teeth evaluated by a pediatric dentist to assess the extent of the bruxism and recommend treatment options.

Suppose your child is complaining about or experiencing teeth clenching or grinding symptoms. In that case, discussing this with their pediatric dentist is important. Bruxism can be a frustrating condition for both parents and children. However, proper treatment and management can help your child have a healthy and happy smile.

Take a Proactive Approach to Pediatric Oral Health in Sacramento, CA

At Sacramento River Dental Group in Sacramento, CA, we make visiting a pediatric dentist easy for parents and kids with a fun, welcoming atmosphere, and compassionate staff. Take charge of childhood oral health today!

To schedule an appointment to talk about teeth clenching or grinding treatment and prevention at Sacramento River Dental Group, please call (916) 391-4848.

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Sacramento River Dental Group – Candidate Privacy Notice

Sacramento River Dental Group is committed to respecting your online privacy and recognizes your need for appropriate protection and management of any personally identifiable information (“Personal Information”) you share with us.

Sacramento River Dental Group is a “data controller”. This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. This privacy notice makes you aware of how and why your personal data will be used, namely for the purposes of the Sacramento River Dental Group employment recruitment process, and how long it will usually be retained.

Data protection principles

We will comply with data protection law and principles, which means that your data will be:

  • Used lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent way.
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The kind of information we hold about you

In connection with your application for work with us, we will collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:

  • The information you have provided to us in your curriculum vitae and cover letter.
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How is your personal information collected?

We collect personal information about candidates from the following sources:

  • You, the candidate.
  • Recruitment agencies and vendors we have agreed on terms in place with
  • Professional networking profile
  • Employees and others who refer you to us


How we will use information about you?

We will use the personal information we collect about you to:

  • Assess your skills, qualifications, and suitability for the role.
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Having received your CV, cover letter, and/or your application form, we will then process that information to decide whether you meet the basic requirements to be screened by our in-house recruitment team for the role. If you do, we will decide whether your application is strong enough to invite you for an interview, be it by telephone, in person, or by other electronic means. If we decide to engage you for an interview, we will use the information you provide to us at the interview to decide whether to offer you the role. If we decide to offer you the role, we will then take up references before confirming your appointment.

If you fail to provide personal information

If you fail to provide information when requested, which is necessary for us to consider your application (such as evidence of qualifications or work history), we will not be able to process your application successfully and we will not be able to take your application further.

Automated decision-making

You will not be subject to decisions that will have a significant impact on you based solely on automated decision-making.

Data sharing With third parties

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We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

Data retention (how long will you use my information for)

  • We will retain your personal information for a period of 2 years after we have communicated to you our decision about whether to appoint you to the role. We will retain your personal information so that we can make you aware of any suitable alternative roles that arise during this period.
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Under certain circumstances, by law, you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
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When you applied for this role, you provided consent to us processing your personal information for the purposes of the recruitment exercise. You have the right to withdraw your consent for processing for that purpose at any time.

To withdraw your consent, please contact the Recruitment Manager. Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your application, and, subject to our policies, we will dispose of your personal data securely.

Data protection officer

We have appointed a data protection officer (DPO) to oversee compliance with this privacy notice. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact the DPO by email, at info@jstreetdentalgroup.com.