It seems the old adage, ‘sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me’ might not be strictly true. New research just published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitiation has indicated that teenagers who suffer from verbal bullying are four times more likely to suffer from the teeth grinding at night.
Grinding teeth 40 times more powerful than chewing
The condition, also known as bruxism has been recognised in adults for some time and is usually associated with stress or anxiety. The grinding motion happens during sleep and can result in permanent long-term damage to the teeth, hardly surprising when you consider that the action is approximately 40 times more powerful than chewing. Dr Nigel Carter from the Oral Health foundation described one patient, “who had worn his teeth right down to the gums”.
If you think your child might be suffering from bruxism or the dentist has any concerns on a routine visit then it may be worth probing deeper to see if all is well at school as the results from the survey are compelling, with grinding being observed in 65 per cent of the bullied children compared to 17 per cent amongst the rest.
Bruxism is treatable
If you haven’t made your dentist aware then it’s probably best to make an early appointment. Although the condition can be very damaging, fortunately it can be treated. In most cases the dentist will recommend a protective device which is designed to specifically for the child’s teeth. The dental appliance, called a guard or splint and made from hard plastic, should ensure that the teeth can’t be ground together. It would be preferable, or course, to tackle the root cause of the problem.
With the development of social media and online bullying, it’s probably more pertinent than ever to check that your child isn’t showing any signs of bruxism. If you want to find out more about the condition then we recommend calling your dentist.