Adults are often diagnosed with bruxism, or grinding their teeth at night. Following is an article that Dr. Holleron found recently related to bruxism in children. His comments on the article can follow.

Community Based Study of Sleep Bruxism During Early Childhood

The actual numbers of kids that grind their teeth while sleeping has been established and it is 36.8% for pre-schoolers and 49.6% for first graders. There have been many theories over the years as to what causes this phenomenon and now more details are coming out.

We used to think that children with breathing problems were the ones that ground their teeth, then we thought that is was a normal occurrence for young children to grind their teeth at night. This study suggests some “associations” between grinding in children and other issues i.e. internalizing behaviors, being withdrawn or somatic complaints, and other health issues. The interesting word here is an “association.” The authors found that children that grind tend to have some other medical issues, the question is, are these cause and affect or simple associations.

The example that I often use is people with creased earlobes have a higher incidence of cardiac problems than the general population, but is the creased earlobe the cause of the cardiac problem? Not likely.

So this article is a nice step in the right direction, but certainly more research needs to be done.

In addition we do not treat young people with “biteguards” to be worn at night because they may limit jaw growth, so there often is moderate wear to young kid’s dentitions in those kids that do grind at night.

BWH