Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

How To Help Your Kid Stop Grinding Their Teeth

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published November 29, 2019

Is Your Child Grinding Their Teeth at Night?

A habit that is not uncommon among adults, teeth grinding is often thought of as a problem for stressed out and overworked grownups. Unfortunately, the tendencies, pain, and effects of grinding your teeth can also occur among kids and toddlers. Why is this? A number of things can be the cause:

  • Coping with growing pains
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Incoming teeth
  • Hyperactivity
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

As with any illness affecting your kids, it can be hard to watch your children feel the effects of teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can lead to serious effects in their dental health down the line, so it’s better to reduce or stop it as soon a possible.

5 Ways to Help or Stop Your Kids’ Teeth Grinding Habit

Stress-Free Bedtime Ritual

Lots of things can cause disruption to what a child (especially a young child) perceives as their normal routine. Any interruption or change in daily rhythms can have the potential to cause stress. Have you been traveling a lot recently? Move into a new house? Have a new baby or another roommate? These can all be factors that throw off your child just enough to cause stress leading to teeth grinding.

A remedy for going to bed with stress is to create a purposefully calm and stress-free bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 20 minutes of time before your child hits the pillow to go through a relaxing and predictable routine. This can include singing together, rocking in a rocking chair, reading a couple of books, and things that will help bring comfort to your child!


Dehydration is known to cause clenching and grinding of teeth and jaw, among other issues. If you aren’t hydrated, your body is not producing the saliva that keeps your teeth strong, preventing bad breath, etc. Add grinding on top of brittle and dehydrated teeth, and a recipe for disaster occurs. 

This means that you may have more reason to convince your picky eater to wash things down with liquids at dinner! Whatever you do, just make sure to not send your kid to bed with milk or juice. This can cause rot to occur over time; if that happens, you have another problem on your hands!

Avoid Evening Caffeine

Another trick to try: take away caffeine around nap times and before bed. Caffeine (or sugary drinks for that matter) can leave one more hyperactive, jittery, and prone to grinding teeth rather than falling asleep.

Try trading soda for herbal tea and see if the nightly teeth grinding habit improves. If that doesn’t seem realistic for your child, try limiting their caffeine intake or changing caffeine privileges to another time of day.

Unplug and Wind Down

Excessive screen time can keep anyone awake at night, and kids are no exception. Stick to activities that don’t stimulate the brain as much and keep you awake. Try and limit your child’s time on a screen to well before it’s time for lights out. Encourage them to read a book or play a game in place of utilizing the family tablet. 

Frequent Checks at the Pediatric Dentist

Are you unsure if your strategies to prevent or stop your child’s teeth grinding are working? Scheduling frequent trips to the Pediatric Dentist can tell you whether or not your child’s habit is on track. If further assistance is needed, your doctor can make recommendations.


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