Dental Injuries and ADHD
The causes of dental trauma—injuries to the teeth and mouth area—traditionally have been classified by a child’s oral developmental stage. Injuries to a child’s baby teeth tend to occur from falls and accidents related to the fact that the child is still learning to walk and run, and hasn’t yet fully developed his senses of balance and space. During the time period when baby teeth are being replaced with permanent teeth (transitional dentition), accidents are more likely to result from outdoor activities such as running and bicycling. But falls are still a major factor during this period, with some studies suggesting that falls account for up to 40% of all dental injuries in the transitional dentition.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that may become apparent before age 7. Children with ADHD often demonstrate poor impulse control, hyperactivity and inattentiveness. Since accidents and falls are the most frequent cause of dental trauma in children, it seems logical that children suffering from ADHD could be more prone to dental trauma than are their peers.
A recent study conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, compared a group of children each of whom a history of recent dental trauma with a group of children without dental trauma. The children’s parents completed the ADHD Rating Scale IV, a form that evaluates children for ADHD and its two component parts: (1) inattention and (2) hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Interestingly, based on the rating scale, both groups of children averaged similar scores for ADHD and for inattention. However, the group of children with dental trauma scored significantly higher for hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Children with ADHD are more at risk than other children for cavities and are more likely to grind their teeth. And these children’s behavioral issues can make visits to KiDDS Dental more difficult for the child and the parent. Parents of children with ADHD should make sure their children use seat belts, bike helmets and mouth guards to help minimize the chances of dental trauma. And they should foster an early and trusting relationship between their child and his dentist.
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