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Tooth grinding linked to withdrawn behavior in young children
Updated: 6/12/2008 2:00:38 PM

New research has suggested that children who grind their teeth are more likely to exhibit withdrawn behavior and do poorly at school.

A study that was presented to the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies this week focused on 1,956 pre-schoolers from low-income backgrounds.

It found that 36.8 per cent of children of that age grind their teeth one or more times per week, while 6.7 per cent do so four or more time per week.

As the frequency of tooth grinding incidents increased, parents were also more likely to report that their child is withdrawn, reluctant to get involved with others and adjusted poorly to the pre-school environment.

Salvatore Insana of West Virginia University, first author of the study, stated: "Although we cannot assume that tooth grinding causes withdrawn behaviors or problems in school, the dynamic relation between tooth grinding and pre-school adjustment indicate that there may be clinical relevance to tooth grinding beyond being a symptom of bruxism."

Bruxism is the name given to the clenching of the jaw or grinding of teeth during sleep, which is fairly common as it is not usual for jaws to tense-up at night.

It can chip teeth and wear down their protective enamel. If serious enough, it can also cause chronic headaches and jaw disorders.

© 2008 Brafton Inc.


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