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Q&A: Down Syndrome Child with Teeth Grinding?


We are having MAJOR teeth grinding issues with a 6-year-old child with Down Syndrome. We have tried chewies: They produce too much saliva and she throws them. Next was a vibrating toothbrush: She’s over it now because she can’t tolerate mouth brushing or pressure techniques. Finally, we gave oral stimulation such as sour patch kids and gum a try: She can’t do and it doesn’t work. Do you have any other suggestions?


It sounds like you have addressed the issue thoroughly from a sensory perspective. Since that’s not working, I am inclined to think something else is causing the teeth grinding. Consider tooth pain, jaw pain, craniosacral issues, or earaches. Check out this excerpt from WebMD: “No one knows exactly why children grind their teeth but considerations include improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, illnesses, and other medical conditions (such as nutritional deficiencies, pinworm, allergies, endocrine disorders), and psychological factors including anxiety and stress.”

I recommend a thorough dental and medical exam to rule out orthopedic, dental, or medical/nutritional concerns that might be contributing to the problem.

Best Wishes,