Teeth and Bullying

Bullying that can be physically and emotionally scarring to young children has long been a problem in society, and sadly seems to be increasing in recent years. Bullies often pick on children who are smaller than they are, but that’s just one aspect of these troubling incidents. A recent study reveals children with poor teeth are more likely to be victims of bullying.

At Grace & Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, we can help improve your child’s oral and overall health with orthodontic treatments that will put them on the road to a lifetime of smiles. Proper orthodontic care leads to improved confidence and self-esteem in children – and may prevent them from being bullied.

In a study published in the December edition of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, results indicated a significant number of children who said they had been bullied reported the bullying was a result of the appearance of their teeth or face. The study found bullies singled out kids because of their teeth and facial features more than any other reason, including a child’s strength and weight. The study was conducted in Amman, Jordan, among sixth-grade students. Results listed four key areas that bullies focused on when confronting other kids. The areas were:

  • Missing teeth
  • Spaces between teeth.
  • Shape or color of teeth.
  • Too large top teeth or “buck teeth.”

The study of more than 900 students reported that about 50 percent said they had been bullied. And teeth were listed as the number one cause behind the bullying.

The study did not cover kids who were already receiving orthodontic care or children diagnosed with congenital abnormalities.

The purpose of the study was to examine bullying among school-age children. The study also examined how bullying impacted school attendance, classroom performance – and how physical and facial appearance played a part in bullying.

The former leader of the American Association of Orthodontists said U.S. orthodontists have long been aware that there is a relationship between dental problems in kids and children’s self-esteem.

Dr. Gayle Glenn, immediate past president of the AAO, said someone’s smile is key to communicating and relating to other people.

She said children with poor or disfigured teeth are easy marks for bullies and such children often suffer from being bullied, according to stories related to the AAO and its members from parents.

Twelve orthodontists from an AAO committee found the Jordanian study could just as easily apply to children here in America. Parents and guardians can help their children achieve healthy smiles and improved self-esteem, and hopefully avoid the physical and psychological nightmare that bullying can become. The AAO recommends children receive orthodontic screening no later than 7 years of age.

At Grace & Bowman Orthodontics, Dr. Roger Grace, Dr. Brodie Bowman and the entire staff understand how difficult life can be for a young person growing up with poor teeth or other dental problems.

Help your child gain a healthy smile and a confident approach to life as he or she grows up. Contact Grace & Bowman for an appointment today.