Research News Staff
New Research on Teeth Grinding

Chiropractic Helps Young Boy after Years of Suffering

Recent research in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic reporting on a 9 year old boy who was grinding his teeth at night for several years reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in helping people suffering with such problems. The research paper includes a review of the literature on sleep bruxism (teeth grinding)  adds to a growing body of scientific research that shows chiropractic should play an important role in managing patients with such conditions. 

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“Research is revealing that chiropractic care is beneficial for a wide variety of pediatric problems from infancy to adolescence” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a researcher, public health expert and editor of the journal that published the study “In this case we have a child who was grinding his teeth at night and suffering needlessly for four years” added Dr. McCoy. 

Sleep bruxism is a movement disorder resulting in repetitive and forceful grinding and clenching of the teeth during sleep. The prevalence of SB has been reported to be as high as 50% of the pediatric population.  While the cause is not well understood, it includes nervous system, psychosocial and genetic influences. 

Research has shown a link between craniocervical (head and neck) posture especially forward head posture affecting the nerves and muscles of the head and neck. Obstruction of the nerves at the brainstem caused by spinal shifts can also stimulate the muscles of the jaw resulting in bruxism. 

“It makes a lot of sense when you think about it” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a researcher, public health expert and editor of the journal that published the study. 

“Chiropractors work with the alignment and movement of the bones that make up the spine and because of the relationship between the spine, nerves and muscles they can effect the head. So it is not so surprising that you’d see this type of outcome.” 

In the case reported on in the study a 9-year-old boy was suffering with grinding his teeth (bruxism) for over 4 years and heavy nose bleeds for several months for no apparent reason. The child's birth was induced and he had been formally assessed and reported as having “Autism Spectrum Disorder tendencies”. 

The chiropractor examined the young boy and found abnormal posture, reduced range of motion in the spine, a forward head shift and structural spinal shifts in his neck, mid back and low back effecting his nervous system. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following four weeks of chiropractic care to reduce the vertebral subluxations and nerve obstructions the boy was no longer grinding his teeth, his nosebleeds stopped and his parents reported that he was less hyperactive and more relaxed. His posture and range of motion improved along with the functioning of his nervous system. 

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in such disorders.        

Contact Information:

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic

McCoy Press