BRUXISM in Children

Derived from the Greek word “brychein,” means tooth grinding. The term was first introduced in 1931 when it was used to describe involuntary, excessive grinding, clenching, or rubbing of the teeth during nonfunctional movements of the masticatory system. More recently, it has been further defined as a diurnal (when it happens during the day) or nocturnal (when it happens at night) parafunctional activity. It refers to movements of the jaws that are outside of the normal functional activity of the teeth and jaws (eg, speaking, chewing, or swallowing).

Children are susceptible to habits conducted without consciousness, such as nail and cheek biting and non-nutritive sucking. In children, bruxing when awake, which manifests as clenching of the teeth, often occurs without any cognitive awareness, especially during stressful situations or intense concentration. When the child is made aware of the activity, the bruxism can be stopped or modified. On the other hand, sleep bruxism, which presents as grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep, cannot be consciously stopped by the child. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders reclassified bruxism in 2005 as a sleep-related movement disorder, rather than its previous classification as a parasomnia, which is an undesirable movement occurring during sleep. This puts it in the same category as restless leg syndrome and sleep walking.


The prevalence of bruxism in children is difficult to determine because estimates are generally based on parental reporting or clinical finding of tooth wear. The occurrence of bruxism may be variable over time, so finding tooth wear is not necessarily indicative of current tooth grinding. The prevalence of bruxism in children varies greatly—from 7% to 88%.1 Children younger than 11 years are most affected with a reported prevalence of 14% to 20%.1 In healthy infants, sleep bruxism typically starts at about 1 year, soon after the eruption of the primary incisors. Bruxism appears in approximately 13% of 18- to 29- year-olds1 and then significantly decreases with age

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Randy Clare

Randy Clare

Randy Clare brings to The Sleep and Respiratory Scholar more than 25 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the sleep and pulmonary function field. He has held numerous management positions throughout his career and has demonstrated a unique view of the alternate care diagnostic and therapy model. He is considered by many an expert in the use of a Sleep Bruxism Monitor in a dental office. Mr. Clare's extensive sleep industry experience assists Sleepandrespiratoryscholar in providing current, relevant, data-proven information on sleep diagnostics and sleep therapies that are effective for the treatment of sleep disorders. Mr Clare is a senior brand manager for Glidewell Dental Laboratory his focus is on dental treatment for sleep disordered breathing.

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