The causal connection between jaw dysfunction and hyperactivity, like many other associated pathologies,lies in an understanding of brain anatomy. The activity level of the brain is primarily controlled by the reticular activating system, a small finger like region within the reticular formation (part of the brainstem). The trigeminal nerve is the largest nerve in the body (28% of sensory cortex devoted to it), and due to its dominant primordial position, it has massive representation in the reticular formation (composed of greater than 50% trigeminal neurons). Hence, activity level of the trigeminal nerve greatly effects activity level of the brain. That is why one rubs their eyes, washes their face, or brushes their teeth to wake up in the morning.
The reason the trigeminal nerve is so large is that it has an extremely high density of pain fibers. Pain fiberstransmit their signals to the brain by Substance P. Due to the massive size of the trigeminal nerve, it has a predominant influence on Substance P levels in the body.
Substance P has some characteristics that are particularly relevant to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and ADD. Substance P is a neurotransmitter that tends to linger around the body, which makes it act like an endocrine substance. It is known to mediate the inflammatory process in the body and cause all other neurons to become hypersensitive. This can lead symptoms that are often found with hyperactivity/ADD like bed wetting, allergies, insomnia, and growing pains.
Spect scans of ADD patients has shown that there is clearly a blood flow/oxygen utilization deficiency in certain parts of the brain. This, likewise can be explained by jaw dysfunction, in that the trigeminal nerve modulates all blood flow in the brain through innervation of the blood vessels.
The trigeminal nerve is known to be a major input into the limbic brain, which controls emotions, cognitive function, and the neuro-immune complex. Elevated trigeminal tone can cause these brain functions to become unstable and hypersensitive (recent research has shown that nasal allergies and multiple chemical sensitivity are both modulated by the trigeminal nerve).
The treatment for jaw malalignment, jaw orthopedic therapy, is far more safe than long term medications.