Ask The Dentist: Teeth grinding may be a sign of bullying, study finds
Dentist Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast says teeth grinding may indicate that your child is being bullied
A LEADING health charity is alerting parents to be on the lookout for their children grinding their teeth, as its revealed to be one sign that their child could be being bullied.
New research has revealed that adolescents who suffer from bullying are far more likely to grind their teeth in their sleep, a sign which could help parents identify victimised children sooner.
The research, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, found that teenagers who were subjected to verbal bullying in school were almost four times as likely to suffer from sleep bruxism (65 per cent) that those who were not (17 per cent).
Sleep bruxism is when you grind your teeth in your sleep and over time can lead to major oral health problems, including migraines, sensitive and worn teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, loosening teeth and severe oral pain and can lead to irreparable damage.
The Oral Health Foundation, is urging parents, carers and schools to be alert to students complaining of oral health problems related to grinding as it may be a signifier of them being bullied.
Speaking on the issue Dr Nigel Carter, head of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "Bullying of any form is absolutely abhorrent and can have a both physical and psychological impact, and when experienced in childhood, can lead to trauma that might last throughout adulthood.
"Grinding teeth may not sound like priority within the wider picture but it could prove to give a vital insight into a child's state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.
"Both children and adults tend to grind their teeth when suffering from stress, and bullying is a significant contributor here. Sleep bruxism can be particularly damaging as we are often unaware that we do it. Many times, we learn that we grind our teeth by a loved one who hears the grinding at night.
"A dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up is the first tell-tale symptom of sleep bruxism. If you feel that you have any of these symptoms and may be suffering from sleep bruxism I would encourage you to visit your dentist who can assess you.”