ADHD Symptoms Usually Include Teeth Grinding

The Surprising Facts and Links

The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a problem that most people have heard about. What many people may not know is that this problem often negatively affects the teeth of those that have the disorder.


About ADHD

ADHD is looked at as a developmental disorder and about five percent of children will have it. It occurs equally among boys and girls. One of the ADHD symptoms is teeth grinding. This often starts when a child is between four and eight years old, but even more children will start when they are between 10-14 years old. In addition to ADHD, teeth grinding may also start because of their personality or anxiety. When children go to sleep while watching TV or listening to the radio, they will be more likely to grind their teeth – called bruxing – while they sleep. Parents can help them relax by reading aloud to them right before they go to bed.


Teeth Grinding

People who have ADHD tend to grind their teeth. This habit occurs in children as well as adults, and it will damage the teeth in several ways, including chipping, cracking, and shorter teeth. It will also damage any restorations you have already had. When ADHD causes this habit to be continued, the damage to teeth and the ongoing dental costs are going to be high.


Many people who grind their teeth in their sleep – whether they have ADHD or not – do not even know that they do it. They find out when they go to a dentist and discover that their teeth are in much worse condition than they realized. They may also have some of the more severe symptoms, which can include:


  • Headaches

  • Jaw pain

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Earaches

  • Abscessed teeth

  • Sleep problems

  • And more.


It appears that this habit is engaged in by most people who have ADHD. Another study has shown that this habit is often engaged in without regard for the severity of the disorder. Even those with mild cases of ADHD will grind their teeth.


You can protect your teeth by getting a sleep guard from a dentist. Damage to your teeth will likely need to be corrected because the enamel may be removed by the grinding and the softer layers of your teeth may be exposed – causing tooth pain.


Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is going to be a common symptom that people with ADHD face because of the medications. This can be a real problem with your teeth and gums because it means that the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease will stay on your teeth and gums longer. The bacteria will also multiply faster.


Dry mouth can be dealt with by staying hydrated. You also want to consume less sugar and brush your teeth more. Chewing sugarless gum will help because it will cause more saliva to flow.


Sleep Apnea

Teeth grinding is often a symptom of sleep apnea. Many people who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep also have sleep apnea. Loud snoring is also a symptom. In this disorder, slowed breathing lowers the oxygen level in the body, and this can damage the organs, including the heart. It can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and falling asleep while driving. It can be fatal. If you or your bed partner suspect you have breathing problems while you sleep, you should get tested at a sleep lab.


Being tired all the time is a common symptom of sleep apnea, as well as having a difficult time of focusing when you are awake. This is because you stop breathing often during the night – as your bed partner may tell you – and you are not able to get to the deep levels of sleep where real rest occurs.


In studies conducted on children with ADHD, it was found that it was important to create a regular bedtime for them each night. The matter of having a routine helped them to sleep better. They tend to stay awake longer after getting into bed, but they still need the same amount of sleep as those without ADHD.


Dental Mouthguards

No matter the age, a night guard for teeth grinding can help protect your teeth from further damage. Your dentist can provide you with a custom made one that will be comfortable.


Dental problems do not get better. It is less expensive to treat dental problems when they are first detected than when they become larger and more painful, and will take the dentist longer to fix.


If you have ADHD and have teeth that are damaged from teeth grinding and need treatment for it, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can provide it. He can also provide you with a night guard for teeth, and a wide range of dental services for all ages and his office accepts most dental health plans. His dental offices are located in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578

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