The link between bullying and oral health has always been a concern for the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Bullying affects both children and adults who have crooked teeth or misaligned bites. Smiles come in all unique shapes and unfortunately bullies target those who are different. Not all children have perfect, straight teeth, and bullies damage the self-esteem of these children by ridiculing their appearance. However, braces are an extremely effective method of improving both physical and emotional health.
Both Bullying and Oral Health can be Improved With Braces
The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics published a recent in-depth study that sheds further light onto the problem of bullying. The data collected from the study finds that the number one cause of bullying among 6th grade students in Amman, Jordan, was due to dental health and facial features relating to misaligned bites. The children targeted by bullies suffered from the following: oversized front teeth, missing teeth, extra spaces between teeth, or teeth that were uniquely shaped or colored. An expert panel consisting of the top 12 dentists in the U.S. with ties to the AAO, confirmed the results of the study and verified that the findings were equivalent to the experience of children in the United States. In short, bullying and oral health is a universal problem. Bullying affects people in different ways. It causes depression, social isolation and an overall decrease in productivity and performance. In studies conducted by the AAO, data suggests that children receiving orthodontic treatment at an early age benefit both psychologically and emotionally from their braces. Braces straighten their teeth and smiles, while discouraging bullies from targeting appearance as a subject of abuse. There was a time when children were even bullied for wearing braces. However, this is no longer the case as orthodontic braces have lost their negative stigma. Braces are not as noticeable or intrusive as they used to be and are now viewed as a positive method of self-improvement. For more information regarding bullying and oral health, please contact Dr. Gorantla at Smiles Orthodontic for a more in-depth discussion.