Ask A Therapist: Down Syndrome & Teeth Grinding


I have a 23 months old baby boy with Down Syndrome, who is grinding his teeth so bad lately. It is so annoying sometimes. He has 9 teeth and feeding is doing much better at this time. We have the Parent Kit and we are using the Straw #1. My husband is thinking to take him to a pediatric dentist, but I believe I can find an answer from the TalkTools experts. Please help us, we are desperately.

Thank you,


Hi Lucy,

What you are mentioning is a common concern I hear from parents of children with Down Syndrome.  You are right to follow your instincts. Often we see children grind their teeth as a sign of jaw weakness and a need for sensory input. When I see patients who are often grinding their teeth we work on chewing on the chewy tubes frequently throughout the day. This will help with jaw strengthening and providing sensory input.  If you would like more information about how to do this and why, there are two video that you might find helpful: “A Three Part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy” and “Developing Oral Sensory Motor Skills to Support Feeding in the Down Syndrome Population.”. Please let me know if you have anymore questions.

We are always happy to help.



Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

Talktool admin 15 Sep 16

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