FOOD INTOLERANCE NETWORK FACTSHEET
Teeth grinding and diet
Keywords: teeth grinding, tooth, bruxism
Tooth grinding is one of the many symptoms that can be associated with food intolerance. When it occurs during sleep (night bruxism) it is considered to be a sleep-related disorder. Other symptoms that may be present include difficulty falling asleep, night waking, early morning waking, nightmares, sleep walking, habitual snoring, daytime mouth breathing1,2, leg cramps, behavioural symptoms such as hyperactivity, 'allergic' symptoms (eczema, asthma, hayfever)2 and gastroesophogeal reflux3. From 1987-2007, clear trends of increasing sleep complaints have been observed1.
As with any symptoms of food intolerance, people are different and any of the usual culprits may be involved. For sleep disorders:
- 75% are likely to react to salicylates (in most fruit, some vegetables, herbs, spices and 'flavour' additives)
- 60-70% are likely to react to preservatives
- 55% are likely to react to artificial colour
- 40% are likely to react to MSG and other flavour enhancers
- 40% are likely to react to synthetic antioxidants such as TBHQ (319), BHA (320) and BHT (321)
- 40% are likely to react to natural glutamates, and biogenic amines
- 20% are likely to react to dairy foods
- less than 1% are likely to react to gluten (although some people are affected by wholegrains e.g. wholegrain bread rather than white bread; figures are higher for other symptoms, up to 20% for irritable bowel).
People rarely react to only one food chemical. Most react to between 3-6 food chemicals4.
Intolerances are delayed reactions to the chemicals in foods. Since reactions are related to the size of the dose, in theory everyone could be affected if the size of the dose is high enough. (True food allergies are a relatively rare, quick, obvious reaction to the proteins in foods such as milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, soy, sesame and seafood). True allergies can be confirmed by laboratory tests whereas food intolerance reactions are tested by an elimination diet and challenges.
 Teeth grinding and little monster behaviour after artificial colours (September 2010)
Most of the time my 5 year old daughter is a nice sweet girl but then sometimes this monster will emerge. When she is in one of these moods she will start grinding her teeth and make monkey type noises and get frustrated very quickly especially with her little brother who has to put up with a lot of punching and intimidation. We get an amount of this behaviour usually everyday but sometimes she will be worse than usual and be completely irrational with inconsolable crying and screaming. When we get one of these more severe episodes we can usually trace it back to something with bright colours like doughnuts with sprinkles etc. After reading your website I have realised that a lot of her staple snack foods have the food colours that have recently been banned in the UK in particular Arnotts country cheese crackers and the Quelch 99% fruit juice Super Doopers which I stupidly thought were healthy choices! - Lyndal, by email
 Teeth grinding and salicylates (September 2010)
Over the last week we have already seen some improvement (in behaviour, bed wetting and teeth grinding) over the last week just by changing fruits to pears and bananas, stopping vegemite and tomatoes and switching to low sal veges. - Karen, by email
 Teeth grinding in a 6 yo due to amines (September 2010)
My daughter has had migraines since the age of 3. She has always complained of 'sore legs'. She has had problems with nasal congestion & had been using Rhinocourt nasal spray daily and has always been a nail biter & a teeth grinder at night. On day 2 of the Amine challenge, she got a migraine,droopy eyes,became listless,and a fever.
She stayed unwell for several days with the headache. During the challenge, she also got a blocked nose, sore tummy, sore nose, nightmares & was badly constipated. Since the end of the Amine challenge (nearly 3 months) we haven't had one migraine! No more snotty nose or blocked nose, nasal sprays, nightmares, sore tummys, teeth grinding, nail biting - her nails are growing for the 1st time in her life - or sore legs. Soooooooo, No more Amines for my daughter! Since eating failsafe we have never looked back! - Tanya, by email
1. Santos-Silva R and others. Increasing trends of sleep complaints in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sleep Med. 2010 ;11(6):520-4.
2. Sahin U and others. Habitual snoring in primary school children: prevalence and association with sleep-related disorders and school performance. Med Princ Pract. 2009;18(6):458-65. .
3. Machado NA and others. Dental wear caused by association between bruxism and gastroesophageal reflux disease: a rehabilitation report. Appl Oral Sci. 2007;15(4):327-33.
4. Loblay RH, Swain AR. Food Intolerance. In: Recent Advances in Clinical Nutrition' Vol 2, 1986. Libbey, London. Eds: Wahlqvist ML and Truswell AS, pp169-177.
The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians http://fedup.com.au/information/support/dietitians
© Sue Dengate update September 2010