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Your Child

Kid’s Head Injury Linked to Long Term Attention Problems

1:45

Even mild brain injuries may cause children to have momentary gaps in attention long after an accident occurs, according to a new study.

The study of 6- to 13-year-olds found these attention lapses led to lower behavior and intelligence ratings by their parents and teachers.

"Parents, teachers and doctors should be aware that attention impairment after traumatic brain injury can manifest as very short lapses in focus, causing children to be slower," said study researcher Marsh Konigs, a doctoral candidate at VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

This loss of focus was apparent even when brain scans showed no obvious damage, the researchers said.

The study’s results are being released as schools gear up for a new academic year combined with some sports programs that can put children at risk for head injuries.

Traumatic brain injury can occur from a blow to the head caused by a fall, traffic accident, and assault or sports injury.

Concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury. In 2009, more than 248,000 teens and children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries or concussions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how the study was conducted.  Researchers compared 113 children who had been hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury with 53 children who had a trauma injury not involving the head. The injuries, which ranged from mild to severe, occurred more than 18 months earlier on average.

The researchers tested mental functioning and evaluated questionnaires completed by parents and teachers at least two months after the injuries.

The head-injured group had slower processing speed, the researchers found. And their attention lapses were longer than those noted in the other children. But unlike other research, no differences were reported in other types of attention, such as executive attention -- the ability to resolve conflict between competing responses.

As is typical with most studies, the results do not prove a cause and effect relationship, but an association.

The take-home message from this study is that even mild head injury can lead to problems, said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He was not involved with the research.

"This study provides further evidence of the importance of trying to minimize brain trauma, since even when there is no visible damage on CAT scans or MRIs, there can still be a significant adverse effect on attention span and behavior," Adesman said.

This research underscores the need to protect children from head injuries through proper supervision, consistent use of child car seats and seat belts, as well as headgear when bike riding and playing contact sports, he added.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

More information on brain injury in children can be found at the Brain Injury Association of America’s website, http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-children.htm.

Source: Kathleen Doheny,  http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/brain-health-news-80/head-injury-may-trigger-attention-issues-in-kids-701821.html

Your Child

“Greener” Schoolyards Improve Children’s Health

2:00

I remember my schoolyard when I was a child. It was basically the school parking lot with a few spaces marked off for softball. Kids with knee and arm scrapes visited the nurse’s station almost daily. It was icy in the winter and too hot in the late spring and early fall to play on, so many students just stood around and talked during recess. My, how times have changed.

These days, some communities are fortunate enough to have what is often referred to as “green” schoolyards and kids are much better off for it, according to a new report.

"Green schoolyards can include outdoor classrooms, native gardens, storm water capture, traditional play equipment, vegetable gardens, trails, trees and more," Dr. Stephen Pont said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release. 

He and his colleagues found that green schoolyards provide benefits in areas such as heart health, weight control, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stress relief.

"And outside of school time, these schoolyards can be open for the surrounding community to use, benefitting everyone," added Pont, medical director of the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity. Now, that’s a great idea!

For the report, researchers from Pont’s team, collected data from prior studies related to the benefits of green schoolyards.

Other experts, such as Richard Louv, co-founder of the Minneapolis-based Children & Nature Network, believe that children need to be exposed to a more natural setting for play, exercise and a break during the school day.

"Too many children have no access to quality school grounds. In many neighborhoods, the standard play space is a barren asphalt playground or a concrete slab surrounded by chain link fence -- a completely unsuitable environment for children's play," said Louv.

Several U.S. cities have jumped on the green schoolyard band-wagon including, Austin, Texas; Grand Rapids, Mich.; San Francisco, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; and Madison, Wis.

Perhaps, other cities will take a harder look at the positive results from this report and request greener schoolyards so that more kids can enjoy and benefit from the rewards of exploring a more natural setting.

The study findings were presented recently at the American Academy of Pediatrics national meeting in Chicago. Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/misc-kid-s-health-news-435/green-schoolyards-may-bring-better-health-to-kids-726508.html

 

Your Child

How Much Pizza is Too Much?

2:00

Just about everyone loves pizza. These days, there are enough specialty toppings to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. So, it’s understandable that people don’t like to hear or read anything negative about America’s favorite fast food.

 But… and where pizza is concerned, there is always a but… kids that consume too much pizza – notice I said too much not any- are not only more likely to pack on the extra pounds, but consume more fat and sodium than is recommended for healthy diets.

Researchers behind a new study from the Health Policy Center at the Institute of Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), examined dietary recall data from children and adolescents aged 2-19 who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2010.

During those years, children between the ages of 2 and 11 took in fewer calories from pizza by 25 percent. Among teenagers, who actually ate more pizza than the younger group, there was also a decline in intake calories from pizza.  Good news so far.

However, looking at the calorie intake from pizza during 2009 to 2010, pizza made up 22% of the total calorie intake among children and 26% of adolescents' calorie intake on the days when it was eaten.

The younger children took in an additional 84 calories, 3 g of saturated fat and 134 mg of sodium on days that they ate pizza, compared with pizza-free days.

For adolescents the count was substantially higher. Pizza days meant an extra 230 calories, 5 g of saturated fat and 484 mg of sodium - 24% and 21% of their recommended daily intake. Not so good news.

Pizza as a snack between meals had the biggest impact on the children’s diet. Children took in an extra 202 calories and teens an extra 365 calories in addition to their regular meals. Ouch.

It’s really no surprise that kids (and adults) rarely eat less of other foods during pizza snack days to compensate for the extra calories, fat and sodium – we just usually don’t.

Researchers also noted that calorie intake from school cafeterias was about the same on pizza days as it was on non-pizza days. They believe the reason for that is that most school cafeteria food is similarly high in calories. In 2015, that may be changing with new school food policies. Let’s hope so anyway.

Pizza in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad food choice-depending on where it comes from. Homemade pizza can be lower in calories, fat and sodium. You get to decide what kind of crust is used and can substitute lower fat and sodium ingredients to build your own healthier meal. Plus, it taste good!

Because of its huge influence on the diet of American youths, the authors suggest that pizza should be specifically addressed as part of nutritional counseling.

"Curbing pizza consumption alone isn't enough to significantly reduce the adverse dietary effects of pizza. It's a very common and convenient food, so improving the nutritional content of pizza, in addition to reducing the amount of pizza eaten, could help lessen its negative nutritional impact." Said lead author Lisa Powell, who is professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health.

Typical fast-food pizza is packed with sodium, fat and calories. This study simply points out that it’s easy to overload on it because it’s convenient and not very expensive. But, it can have a devastating affect on kid’s health when not eaten sensibly. The extra fat, salt and calories add up to more weight, higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and diabetes. Not anything you really want for your kids or yourself.

The study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: David McNamee, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288252.php

Your Child

Back-To-School Immunizations

2:30

Is your child up-to-date on his or her immunizations for the new school year?

Each state has its own set of immunization requirements, but there are a few that are found in nearly all states. Make sure you know which are required for your child’s school.

The typical list includes:

DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis)

·      Most children have five dosages by the time they start school, including one after their fourth birthday

·      Remember that children also need a tetanus booster when they are around 11 to 12 years old

·      The Tdap vaccine (Boostrix or Adacel) is recommended for teens and adults to protect them from pertussis in 2006 and replaces the previous Td vaccine that only worked against tetanus and diphtheria

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

·      Two doses of MMR are usually required by school entry. In the past, the second dose was given when a child was either 4 to 6 years old or 12 years old. Now, it is usually given earlier, but some older children may not have gotten two doses yet.

·      Having two doses of MMR is important in this age of measles outbreaks.

IVP (Polio)

·      Most children have four or five dosages by the time they start school, including one after their fourth birthday.

Varivax (Varicella, or the Chickenpox vaccine)

·      Your older child will need the chickenpox shot if he has not already had chickenpox in the past. Most toddlers young receive it when they are 12 to 18 months old. Although younger children used to be given just one dose, it is now required that kids get a chickenpox booster shot when they are 4 to 6 years old. Older kids should get their booster at their next well child visit or as soon as they can so that they don't get chickenpox.

Hepatitis B

·      A series of three shots that is now started in infancy. Older children are usually caught up by 12 years of age if they haven't received this vaccine yet.

Hepatitis A

·      A set of two shots for children over 12 months years of age. All infants and toddlers are now getting this shot as a part of the routine childhood immunization schedule, but there is currently no plan for routine catch-up immunization of all unimmunized 2- to 18-year-old children, unless they live in a high-risk area with an existing hepatitis A immunization program or if the kids are themselves high risk. Kids are high risk for example, if they travel to developing countries, abuse drugs, have clotting-factor disorders, or chronic liver disease, etc.

·      Hepatitis A vaccine is required to attend preschool in many parts of the United States.

Hib

·      While required for school entry, children do not usually receive this shot after they are five years of age, so children who have missed this shot don't usually need to get caught up before school starts if they are older than 5 years old.

Prevnar

·      A vaccine that can help to prevent infections by the pneumococcal bacteria, which is a common cause of blood infections, meningitis and ear infections in children.

·      Prevnar is typically given between the ages of two months and five years, and isn't approved for older kids, so your older child wouldn't need this shot if he didn't get it when he was younger. It is often required to attend preschool though.

·      A newer version of Prevnar, which can provide coverage against 13 strains of the pneumococcal bacteria, is approved and replaces the older version (Prevnar 7) in 2010, which means that many older children in preschool may need another dose of Prevnar 13, even if they finished the Prevnar 7 series.

·      Another version of this vaccine is available for certain older high-risk children though, including kids with immune system problems, although that wouldn't be required for school.

Meningococcal vaccine

·      Menactra and Menveo, the newest versions of the meningococcal vaccine, is now recommended for children who are 11 to 12 years old, with a booster dose when they are 15 to 18 years old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all school age children stay up-to-date on all their immunizations.

As well as the vaccines recommended above, AAP includes a few others in its 2016 list. They include:

Influenza

·      Administer influenza vaccine annually to all children beginning at age 6 months. For most healthy, non-pregnant persons aged 2 through 49 years, either LAIV or IIV may be used. However, LAIV should NOT be administered to some persons, including 1) persons who have experienced severe allergic reactions to LAIV, any of its components, or to a previous dose of any other influenza vaccine; 2) children 2 through 17 years receiving aspirin or aspirin-containing products; 3) persons who are allergic to eggs; 4) pregnant women; 5) immunosuppressed persons; 6) children 2 through 4 years of age with asthma or who had wheezing in the past 12 months; or 7) persons who have taken influenza antiviral medications in the previous 48 hours.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

·      Administer a 3-dose series of HPV vaccine on a schedule of 0, 1-2, and 6 months to all adolescents aged 11 through 12 years. 9vHPV, 4vHPV or 2vHPV may be used for females, and only 9vHPV or 4vHPV may be used for males.

·      The vaccine series may be started at age 9 years,

·      Administer the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first dose (minimum interval of 4 weeks), administer the third dose 16 weeks after the second dose (minimum interval of 12 weeks) and 24 weeks after the first dose.

·      Administer HPV vaccine beginning at age 9 years to children and youth with any history of sexual abuse or assault who have not initiated or completed the 3-dose series.

Many states have added an “opt out” choice for parents on some vaccines but not all. For the health and safety of all children, the AAP recommends that parents follow each state’s immunizations requirements and not opt out unless there is a medical necessity.

Story sources: Vincent Iannelli, MD, https://www.verywell.com/school-immunization-requirements-2633240

http://redbook.solutions.aap.org/selfserve/ssPage.aspx?SelfServeContentId=Immunization_Schedules

 

 

Your Child

Could More Dietary Fiber Reduce Food Allergies?

2:00

In the never–ending search for an answer as to why more Americans – from children to adults- are experiencing food allergies, several new studies suggest that the culprit could be too little fiber in our diets.  

According to the non-profit organization, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), 15 million Americans have food allergies. That’s a 50 percent increase from 1997 to 2011. About 90 percent of people with food allergies are allergic to one of eight types of foods; peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs, milk, shellfish and fish. 

So, what is going on that so many people are suffering from food allergies, particularly children? That’s what researchers around the world are trying to find out.  Many studies are beginning to suggest that it’s not just one thing but a combination of factors.

A lack of dietary fiber in the diet may be one of those factors. The notion is based on the idea that bacteria in the gut have the enzymes needed to digest dietary fiber, and when these bacteria break down fiber, they produce substances that help to prevent an allergic response to foods, said Charles Mackay, an immunologist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

So far, the research related to this idea has been done mainly in mice, and dietary factors are unlikely to be the sole explanation for why allergy rates have skyrocketed, researchers say. But if the results were to be replicated in human studies, they would suggest that promoting the growth of good gut bacteria could be one way to protect against, and possibly even reverse, certain allergies, researchers say.

The modern western diet, high in fat, sugar and refined carbs seems to produce a different kind of bacteria in the gut that may be liked to food allergies.  Fiber such as beans, whole grains, nuts, berries, vegetables and brown rice promote the growth of a class of bacteria called Clostridia, which break down fiber and are some of the biggest producers of byproducts called short-chain fatty acids.

In a 2011 study in the journal Nature, researchers found that these short-chain fatty acids normally prevent gut cells from becoming too permeable, and letting food particles, bacteria or other problematic compounds move into the blood.

An overabundance of antibiotic use may also be contributing to food allergies. Not only are people being over-prescribed, we may also be getting extra doses in some of our foods.

Antibiotics, which are widely used in agriculture and for treating ear infections in babies and toddlers, kill the bacteria in the gut. So the combination of antibiotics and low-fiber diets may be a "double whammy," that predisposes people to allergic responses, notes said Cathryn Nagler, a food allergy researcher at the University of Chicago.

The new findings also suggest a way to prevent, or possibly even reverse some allergies. For instance, allergy treatments could use probiotics that recolonize the gut with healthy forms of Clostridia, Nagler said.

In fact, in a small study published in January in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, showed that children with peanut allergies who received probiotics were able to eat the nut without having an allergic reaction, and their tolerance to peanuts persisted even after the treatment.

Many factors may contribute to the rise in food allergies, said Dr. Robert Wood, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore. Epidemiological studies have found that having pets, going to day care, having a sibling, being born vaginally and even washing dishes by hand can affect the risk of allergies.

As more and more research is being conducted on food allergies, a bigger picture is starting to emerge about possible causes. Pediatricians and family physicians are keeping a close eye on the new findings to better help their patients. Some of those findings are changing the way physicians are treating food allergies.

For years, doctors told parents of children at a high risk of developing allergies to wait until the children were 3 years old before giving them peanuts or other allergy-inducing foods, Wood said.

"We really thought we knew what we were doing, and it turns out it was 100 percent wrong," Wood said.

If your child suffers from food allergies, you might want to talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about adding more dietary fiber or probiotics to your child’s diet. However, it’s not recommended that you “experiment” on your own because some children’s health problems can be made worse from probiotic use or too much fiber. Be sure and check with your doctor first.

Sources: Tia Ghose, http://www.livescience.com/50046-fiber-reduce-allergies.html

http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats

Your Child

Special Diet for Kids With Crohn Disease, Colitis

1:45

A special diet may help children with Chron disease and ulcerative colitis without the use of medications, according to a new study.

Chron disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that was once considered rare in children. It is now recognized as one of the most important chronic diseases that affect children and teens with approximately 20-30 percent of all patients with Chron presenting symptoms when they are younger than 20 years old.

The diet includes non-processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts. Over 12 weeks, the diet appeared to ease all signs of these inflammatory bowel diseases in eight of the 10 affected children, researchers report.

"The study shows that without other intervention, other changes, we can improve individuals' clinical as well as laboratory markers," said study author Dr. David Suskind. He's a professor of pediatrics and director of clinical gastroenterology at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"I'm not surprised," Suskind added, "primarily because preliminary studies ... opened our eyes to the idea that diet had an impact."

Standard treatment for Chron disease and ulcerative colitis usually includes steroids and other immune-suppressing drugs. With severe symptoms, surgery is sometimes required to remove portions of the intestine.

Suskind and his team put the 10 patients, between the ages of 10 and 17, on a special diet. The diet is known as the specific carbohydrate diet. No other measures were used to treat the study participants' active Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.

The diet removes grains, most dairy products, and processed foods and sugars, except for honey. Those on the specific carbohydrate diet can eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts.

Suskind noted that scientists aren’t sure why the diet seems to work, but there are several theories.

First, it's known that diet affects the gut microbiome -- the array of bacteria in the digestive tract contributing to digestion and underlying the immune system .

"One of the likely reasons why dietary therapy works is it shifts the microbiome from being pro-inflammatory to non-inflammatory," he said.

"Another potential [reason] is there are a lot of additives in the foods we eat that can have an effect on the lining of the intestines. This diet takes out things deleterious to the mucus lining in the intestinal tract," Suskind said.

Other IBD researchers are praising the small study.

Dr. James Lewis is chief scientist for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's IBD Plexus Program. He's helping lead national research in progress comparing the effectiveness of the specific carbohydrate diet to the so-called Mediterranean diet in inducing remission in patients with Crohn's disease. The Mediterranean diet stresses eating mostly plant-based foods.

Lewis praised Suskind's new study, noting that despite its small size, it adds to growing research suggesting a potential therapeutic benefit from the specific carbohydrate diet to inflammatory bowel patients.

"Even our most effective [standard] therapies leave a proportion of patients with persistently active disease or the inability to completely heal the intestine," Lewis said. "Because of that alone, we need other therapeutic approaches."

The study was published in the recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

Story sources: Maureen Salamon, http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/news/20170109/special-diet-may-be-boon-for-kids-with-crohns-colitis#1

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/928288-overview

 

Your Child

Recall: More Than 590,000 Albuterol Inhalers

1:30

Adults and children with breathing problems often rely on metered dose inhalers to open their airways, allowing them to breathe more easily. Albuterol (Proventil, Proair, Ventolin) is a medication called a bronchodilator, commonly found in rescue inhalers for acute asthma attacks.

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling more than 590,000 albuterol inhalers. Three lots of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers have been voluntarily recalled due to a potential issue with the delivery system, a spokesman for the British pharmaceutical company said.

The affected lot numbers are 6ZP0003, 6ZP9944 and 6ZP9848. The devices have been recalled from hospitals, pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers in the United States.

The recalled inhalers may not release the correct dose of medication due to a defective delivery system. Albuterol opens airways in the lungs to treat common conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The company said it had received an elevated number of product complaints about a bulging of the outside wrapper, indicating a leak of the propellant that delivers the medicine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the voluntary "Level 2" recall, which only affects products in the United States, GSK spokesman Juan Carlos Molina said.

The defect does not pose a danger to patients, so they are not being asked to return inhalers they have already purchased. However, if the devices are not relieving symptoms, patients should seek medical attention right away.

GSK said it was trying to identify the root cause of the problem and would take corrective action. Patients whose inhalers are among the affected lots can contact GSK’s customer service center at 1-888-825-5249.

Story sources: Robert Jimison, http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/06/health/albuterol-inhaler-recall/

Your Child

Brief Exercise May Help Prevent Type2 Diabetes in Kids

1:45

Type2 diabetes used to be called “ adult-onset diabetes” for a good reason. It was typically found in older adults. That’s not the case any longer. The numbers of children diagnosed with type2 diabetes is skyrocketing and child health experts are looking for ways to bring the numbers down.

A new study suggests that even brief spurts of exercise may lower children’s blood sugar levels and help protect them against type2 diabetes.

The study of 28 healthy, normal-weight children found that doing three minutes of moderate-intensity walking every half hour over three hours of sitting led to lower levels of blood sugar and insulin, compared to another day when the children sat for three hours straight.

On the day the children took brief walks, they did not eat any more at lunch than on the day they remained seated for the entire three hours.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health said that even short bouts of exercise during otherwise inactive periods could help prevent diseases like type2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer in children.

"We know that 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity benefits children's health," study senior author Dr. Jack Yanovski, chief of the section on growth and obesity at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a government news release.

"It can be difficult to fit longer stretches of physical activity into the day. Our study indicates that even small activity breaks could have a substantial impact on children's long-term health," he added.

Along with diet, inactivity is a major contributor to developing type2 diabetes. American children are now spending about six hours a day either sitting or reclining, researchers said. That was almost unheard of just a couple of generations ago.

In a news release, study author, Britni Belcher, a cancer prevention fellow at the U.S. National Cancer Institute and an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, said that "Sustained sedentary behavior after a meal diminishes the muscles' ability to help clear sugar from the bloodstream. "

Belcher also explained,  "That forces the body to produce more insulin, which may increase the risk for beta cell dysfunction that can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Our findings suggest even short activity breaks can help overcome these negative effects, at least in the short term."

It’s become far too easy for children to be sedentary with using computers, smart phones and video games as their main activities. Children are much more likely to engage in physical activity if it is part of a family health plan. While it may be easy to get caught up in sitting or reclining on the couch for long periods of time, it may change your child’s future health prognosis by interrupting those types of activities and getting them up and moving around more – even for short spurts.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/diabetes-information-10/type-ii-diabetes-news-183/briefs-emb-8-27-1pmet-kids-exercise-health-jcem-nih-release-batch-1913-702656.html

 

Your Child

Teeth Grinding and Children

2:00

When parents check in on their sleeping child, the grinding sound of teeth is not what they expect to hear.  While it may be a bit unsettling for parents, it’s not uncommon. 

The medical term for this condition is called bruxism and 2 to 3 out of every 10 kids will grind their teeth or clench their jaws during sleep, according to experts.

Bruxism often occurs during deep sleep phases or when kids are under stress.

None knows for sure why bruxism happens. In some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren't aligned properly. Others do it as a response to pain, such as from an earache or teething. Kids might grind their teeth as a way to ease the pain, just as they might rub a sore muscle. Many kids outgrow these fairly common causes for grinding.

Children under stress may also grind their teeth or clench their jaw. Worry over a test or a change in routine can be released through teeth grinding during sleep. More serious family problems or being the recipient of bullying can prompt bruxism. Some kids who are hyperactive also have bruxism. And sometimes kids with other medical conditions (such as cerebral palsy) or who take certain medicines can develop bruxism.

The suspected reasons are many.

The effects of undetected teeth grinding can vary as well. Sometimes, kids have little or no effect from light teeth grinding.  However, other children may experience headaches or earaches. In some cases, nighttime grinding and clenching can wear down tooth enamel, chip teeth, increase temperature sensitivity, and cause severe facial pain and jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ).  Most kids who grind, however, don't have TMJ problems unless their grinding and clenching happen a lot.

Most of the time kids aren’t aware that they are grinding their teeth. A sibling or parent usually discovers it.

What should you do if your child has bruxism? You can talk with pediatrician about it and a visit to the dentist is a good idea. Your dentist can check for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear on your child’s teeth as well as misaligned teeth.

Most children will outgrow bruxism, but a combination of parental observation and dental visits can help keep the problem in check until they do.

If your child’s grinding and clenching is caused by, or is causing, a dental problem, the dentist may prescribe a special mouth guard that is worn at night. It looks similar to protective mouthpieces worn by athletes. While it may take a little time to get used to, positive results typically happen quickly.

For bruxism that's caused by stress, ask about what's upsetting your child and find a way to help. For example, a kid who is worried about being away from home for a first camping trip might need reassurance that mom or dad will be nearby if needed.

If the issue is more complicated, such as moving to a new town, discuss your child's concerns and try to ease any fears. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned that your child may need professional help with discussing what is bothering him or her.

In rare cases, basic stress relievers aren't enough to stop bruxism. If your child has trouble sleeping or is acting differently than usual, your dentist or doctor may suggest further evaluation. This can help find the cause of the stress and a proper course of treatment.

Because some bruxism is a child's natural reaction to growth and development, most cases can't be prevented. Stress-induced bruxism can be avoided, though. So talk with kids regularly about their feelings and help them deal with stress. Taking kids for routine dental visits can help find and treat bruxism.

Story source: Kenneth H. Hirsch, DDS, http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bruxism.html#

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