Sleep Bruxism-Tooth Grinding Prevalence, Characteristics and Familial Aggregation: A Large Cross-Sectional Survey and Polysomnographic Validation

Sleep. 2016 Nov 1;39(11):2049-2056. doi: 10.5665/sleep.6242.


Study objectives: Sleep bruxism (SB) is characterized by tooth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep. Familial factors may contribute to the occurrence of SB. This study aims are: (1) revisit the prevalence and characteristics of SB in a large cross-sectional survey and assess familial aggregation of SB, (2) assess comorbidity such as insomnia and pain, (3) compare survey data in a subset of subjects diagnosed using polysomnography research criteria.

Methods: A sample of 6,357 individuals from the general population in Quebec, Canada, undertook an online survey to assess the prevalence of SB, comorbidities, and familial aggregation. Data on familial aggregation were compared to 111 SB subjects diagnosed using polysomnography.

Results: Regularly occurring SB was reported by 8.6% of the general population, decreases with age, without any gender difference. SB awareness is concomitant with complaints of difficulties maintaining sleep in 47.6% of the cases. A third of SB positive probands reported pain. A 2.5 risk ratio of having a first-degree family member with SB was found in SB positive probands. The risk of reporting SB in first-degree family ranges from 1.4 to 2.9 with increasing severity of reported SB. Polysomnographic data shows that 37% of SB subjects had at least one first-degree relative with reported SB with a relative risk ratio of 4.625.

Conclusions: Our results support the heritability of SB-tooth grinding and that sleep quality and pain are concomitant in a significant number of SB subjects.

Keywords: familial aggregation; heritability; pain; prevalence; sleep bruxism.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Heredity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography*
  • Prevalence
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report*
  • Sleep Bruxism / diagnosis
  • Sleep Bruxism / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Bruxism / etiology
  • Young Adult