Having “ugly” teeth may significantly contribute to the problem of bullying, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics. According to the study, teeth were the No. 1-targeted physical feature to increase a child’s chance of being bullied, followed by the child’s strength and weight.

Do you think Tom Cruise was a victim of teasing and bullying as a kid that created his tough guy attitude he projects today? He actually went through orthodontic treatment twice, in his teens to straighten his teeth and broaden his smile and again as an adult to correct a midline discrepancy that was still apparent in photographs. His smile is obviously something he is very aware of and very important to him.

Orthodontists for some time have been aware of the relationship between unattractive teeth and low self-esteem for some time. Not only for kids, but patients of all ages. A smile and teeth are the first features people notice when you walk into a room and important to communication and developing relationships while kids are maturing.

Children can be cruel and parents often ask for the help of Dr. Eric Wu at Redwood Shores Orthodontics when they know their kids are being teased or bullied because of his or her appearance.

Five Tips For Parents

  1. Explain to your kids that baby teeth are not all lost till early teens and their smile will eventually change as they grow. Once this happens the looks and smiles of the kids making fun will change too.
  2. The AAO recommends that all children be seen by age 7 to check for orthodontic problems that can be corrected at an early age. Most children do not require early intervention but it is a good idea to make sure your child’s jaw and teeth are developing normally
  3. During the first visit, ask your orthodontist to explain how orthodontic treatment creates beautiful smiles and show before and after results. This will reassure your child there is hope for a better smile when they are older when all their teeth have erupted.
  4. Find photos of celebrities with poor smiles that grew up to be successful in their fields. It reinforces the message that you are not worried about their teeth and they shouldn’t be either. It will eventually get better.
  5. If you feel your child’s self-esteem is being adversely affected by teasing and bullying, discuss available treatment options with your #orthodontist in, private, during your first visit or supervisory appointment. Early orthodontic treatment can address the problem at hand, with the understanding that full orthodontic treatment may again be required after all the permanent teeth erupt.

Our goal at Redwood Shores Orthodontics is to address the personalized needs of any patient at any age. Contact our office for a complimentary smile evaluation and let us help you determine how we can best help you and your child who is a victim of bullying or teasing.