This probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but kids with bad teeth are often bullied. A study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics found that teeth were the number one targeted facial feature!
The study was conducted among 6th grade students in Amman, Jordan and found that a significant amount of bullying in school was due to children’s dental or facial appearance. Other physical features that were targets for bullies were strength and weight. Of the 920 students in the study, about half had been bullied, with more boys reporting it than girls. Students who were bullied were more likely to play hooky from school and to dislike going to school.
About half of the bullying victims knew that they were singled out because of their teeth. Missing teeth, large spaces, “buck” teeth and the color of the teeth were all targeted by bullies. A panel of American orthodontists agreed with the findings of this study, saying that the experiences of the children in Jordan can easily translate to American 6th graders.
Dealing with bullies is difficult and complex. However, dealing with crooked teeth in an adolescent is something that can be resolved. Some parents avoid orthodontics for their children because they think that braces are only for making a smile look prettier. Yes, dental braces can give someone a more beautiful smile, but they also help preserve healthy teeth and gums. Teeth that are crooked or overlapping are difficult to keep clean which leads to more tooth decay and early onset of gum disease. Orthodontic treatment for your child gives them the gift of a lifetime of better dental health – and less worry about bullying.