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Teeth grinding in teens could be a sign of bullying

Close up of teenage man with closed eyes, grinding teeth

New research published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation says that children aged between 13-15 in a Brazilian study who were verbally bullied in school were 4 times more likely to grind their teeth, or experience sleep bruxism, than those who weren’t bullied.

The oral health charity said that parents and schools should be aware of the problem, which can also affect adults who are stressed and anxious.

Grinding your teeth can lead to ear aches, migraines, limitation of the mouth opening, disruption of sleep and inflamed gums, and the  sound of grinding has been compared to the noise from a circular saw.

A man working with a circular saw in a factory, sparks flying

Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation said bruxismin is something to look out for in the UK.

“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.”

The grinding together of the upper and lower teeth can lead to serious dental problems, such as sensitive and worn teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, the loss of teeth as well as pain in the face and jaw.

Dr. Carter says, “Grinding teeth may not sound like a 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.”

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