How to Get a Toddler to Stop Grinding Teeth: Top Tips for Relief

Getting a toddler to stop grinding their teeth can be a concern for many parents, as the habit can potentially lead to dental issues in the future. The good news is that most toddlers outgrow teeth grinding by the age of six, usually when their adult teeth start coming in and their bite evens out.

However, if the habit persists, we’re here to share some insights to help you address the situation.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why toddlers grind their teeth. There could be various reasons for this behavior, such as misaligned teeth or even to relieve pain from teething or an earache. Identifying the cause behind your toddler’s teeth grinding can help you take appropriate steps to address the issue.

Creating a bedtime routine that is calming and relaxing can also contribute to alleviating teeth grinding in toddlers. Reducing stress before bedtime may help prevent grinding, especially if it’s triggered by anxiety or tension.

Understanding Teeth Grinding in Toddlers


Bruxism is a term used to describe the act of grinding or clenching teeth. In toddlers, teeth grinding is a common phenomenon, and it could be due to several factors. While it may be concerning to hear your toddler grinding their teeth, the good news is most children outgrow this habit by the age of six, when their adult teeth come in and their bite evens out.


Another possible cause for teeth grinding in toddlers is teething. When new teeth are emerging, children may experience discomfort and might grind their teeth to alleviate the pain. It’s essential for us, as parents, to keep an eye on our toddler’s dental health and look for signs of trauma, such as redness, swelling, or bleeding in the teeth or gums.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also contribute to teeth grinding in toddlers. While it may be hard to imagine that such young children can feel stressed, they can experience anxiety due to factors like changes in routine, family dynamics, or even starting a new daycare. To help alleviate stress-related teeth grinding in our toddlers, we can create a relaxing bedtime routine with activities such as reading, cuddling, and soft music.

Remember, teeth grinding in toddlers is often a temporary phase. By understanding the causes and monitoring our child’s dental health, we can help ensure a healthy and stress-free environment for our little ones.

Common Causes in Toddlers

Pain and Discomfort

Teething pain can be one of the reasons for teeth grinding in toddlers. When new teeth are erupting through the gums, it can cause discomfort and sometimes toddlers will grind their teeth to alleviate that pain. We recommend monitoring your toddler’s teeth development and providing teething toys to ease the pain. If you notice persistent teeth grinding, it might be worth discussing with a pediatric dentist or pediatrician.

Ear Infection

Ear infections are another common cause of teeth grinding in toddlers. The pain from the infection can result in a toddler grinding their teeth to find relief. To determine if your toddler has an ear infection, look out for signs such as difficulty sleeping, increased irritability, or tugging at their ears. If you suspect an ear infection, consult with a pediatrician for proper diagnosis and treatment. According to Today’s Parent, addressing the underlying cause of teeth grinding, such as an ear infection, can help alleviate the habit.


Sometimes, teeth grinding in toddlers may be caused by misalignment of baby teeth or the early emergence of adult teeth. This misalignment can create an uncomfortable sensation, leading the toddler to attempt self-correction through grinding their teeth. If you suspect that misalignment is causing your toddler’s teeth grinding, Healthline suggests consulting with a dentist, who can assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatment options to address the issue.

In addition to the above causes, teeth grinding in toddlers can also be triggered by consumption of caffeine-containing foods and drinks, or even due to non-nutritive habits. Identifying the cause is the first step to help your toddler stop grinding their teeth, and ensure their healthy dental development.

Identifying Signs of Teeth Grinding

As parents, our goal is to help you recognize whether your toddler is grinding their teeth, a condition known as bruxism. To do so, we’ll cover the physical symptoms and behavioral changes you should look out for in your little one.

Physical Symptoms

When it comes to identifying teeth grinding in your toddler, there are a few physical symptoms you can watch for:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Worn-down enamel
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to consult with your child’s dentist as soon as possible. They can recommend the appropriate course of action based on the severity of the symptoms.

Behavioral Changes

Beyond physical symptoms, there are several behavioral changes you might notice in your toddler that could indicate teeth grinding:

  • Unusual facial expressions, such as constant clenching
  • Consistent chewing on toys or other objects
  • Increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Restless sleep, including tossing and turning

It’s worth noting that teeth grinding might occur due to factors like stress, misaligned teeth, or even medical reasons such as hyperactivity or cerebral palsy.

As parents, recognizing the signs and symptoms of teeth grinding is the first step to helping your toddler. Make sure to keep an eye out for both physical symptoms and behavioral changes, and don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional if needed.

Consulting a Dentist

Routine Checkups

As parents, we should take our toddlers for regular dental checkups to maintain their oral health. This will also help the dentist identify any signs of teeth grinding early on. They will examine our child’s teeth for wear and tear, such as chipped enamel or teeth that appear broken or cracked.

During these visits, it’s crucial for us to discuss our concerns about our toddler’s teeth grinding with the dentist. They can provide valuable insights into the possible causes and suggest appropriate measures to reduce or eliminate the habit altogether.

Professional Guidance

The dentist will be able to evaluate our child’s teeth and may recommend specific approaches to protect their teeth and reduce grinding. One of such methods could be the use of dental splints or mouth guards. These devices are designed to keep the teeth separated and prevent the damage caused by clenching and grinding.

Even though toddlers typically outgrow teeth grinding by age six, around when their adult teeth start to come in and their bite evens out, it’s important that we follow the dentist’s advice and take necessary precautions. Implementing stress-reduction techniques at bedtime can also be helpful in managing teeth grinding in toddlers.

Let’s work together with the dentist to ensure a healthy and stress-free dental development for our toddlers.


  1. <a href=”

Treatment and Prevention

Establishing a Routine

One of the most effective ways to help your toddler stop grinding their teeth is by establishing a consistent routine. By creating a relaxing and predictable bedtime routine, your child is more likely to feel secure and less stressed. Some suggestions for bedtime routines include:

  • Reading a book
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Listening to calming music
  • Deep breathing exercises

Encourage your child to participate in these activities every night before bed, as this can help decrease stress and anxiety, which are common triggers of teeth grinding.

Addressing Medical Conditions

Sometimes, teeth grinding in toddlers may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea, allergies, or an abnormal bite. In these cases, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to address the root cause. They may recommend:

  • Seeing a dentist for bite adjustments
  • Consulting with a sleep specialist for sleep-related issues
  • Treating allergies with appropriate medication and lifestyle changes

By resolving these underlying issues, it is possible to reduce your child’s teeth grinding.

Using Night Guards

In cases where teeth grinding is severe or persistent, your child’s dentist may recommend using a custom-made night guard. These dental appliances help protect your toddler’s teeth from the wear and tear caused by grinding while they sleep. However, keep in mind that night guards may not address the root cause of teeth grinding, and it is still essential to work on establishing a routine and addressing any medical conditions that may be contributing to the problem.

Remember, the main goal is to protect your child’s teeth from damage and ensure they can have a comfortable and restful sleep. With the right approach and consistent effort, you can help minimize teeth grinding in your toddler and promote overall dental health.


Transitioning to Adult Teeth

As our toddlers grow, they will eventually lose their baby teeth and transition to adult teeth. During this phase, it is important for us to help them maintain a healthy bite and prevent sleep bruxism, which is the habit of teeth grinding during sleep. There are various ways we can support our children in breaking this habit.

Firstly, we can introduce relaxation techniques before bedtime such as quiet reading, calming music, or a gentle massage to help reduce stress and relax their jaw muscles. Stress is known to contribute to sleep bruxism, so providing a soothing environment can make a difference.

Secondly, it’s essential to monitor and address any bite issues as our toddlers transition to their adult teeth. Misaligned teeth or improper bite can lead to teeth grinding, so regular dental check-ups become crucial during this time. If the dentist identifies any abnormalities, they might recommend treatment such as braces or dental appliances to correct the bite.

Additionally, if the teeth grinding becomes persistent and starts causing problems like tooth wear or pain, a dentist may recommend the use of a night guard. A night guard is a thin, flexible piece of plastic worn over the teeth to protect them from damage due to grinding. While this may not entirely stop the bruxism, it can prevent further damage to the teeth and alleviate any associated discomfort.

One important thing to note is that sleep bruxism in toddlers might be linked to other conditions such as sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils, or mouth-breathing issues. It is vital to share your observations about your child’s teeth grinding with their dentist and pediatrician to rule out any underlying conditions. If an underlying issue is found, treating the root cause will likely help stop or reduce the teeth grinding.

In summary, during the transition to adult teeth, maintaining a healthy bite and addressing any potential causes of sleep bruxism will help our toddlers develop good oral health habits and protect their adult teeth in the long run.

Looking For Toddler Activities Locally?

See our Toddler Activities Near Me page:
About the author

How to Get a Toddler to Stop Grinding Teeth: Top Tips for Relief

How to Get a Toddler to Stop Grinding Teeth: Top Tips for Relief