Study suggests link between verbal bullying and bruxism in adolescents

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Study suggests link between verbal bullying and bruxism in adolescents

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Bruxism in adolescents could be triggered by involvement in verbal bullying at school . (Photograph: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 20. September 2017

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ITABIRA, Brazil: Verbal bullying at school can negatively impact an adolescent’s mental health, causing distress and anxiety. A Brazilian study has shown that this stress may be reflected in oral health too and possibly result in nocturnal bruxism.

The case–control study by a research team led by Prof. Junia Serra-Negra at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais has suggested that possible sleep bruxism in young teenagers is associated with a history of involvement in verbal bullying at school as victims, perpetrators or both.

The cases were composed of 103 school pupils in Itabira between the ages of 13 and 15 with possible sleep bruxism (i.e., self- or parent-reported) and the controls of 206 adolescents without possible sleep bruxism. All of the participants answered a questionnaire on their involvement, if any, in verbal school bullying episodes, based on the national school-based health survey, and an evaluation of their socio-economic class according to the criteria of the Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Pesquisa [Brazilian association of research companies]. Pearson’s chi-squared test, the McNemar test and conditional logistic regression were performed to evaluate the association between possible sleep bruxism, verbal school bullying and socio-economic class.

Among the participants, 134 (43.3 percent) reported involvement in verbal school bullying episodes as a victim, perpetrator or both. The vast majority (90.3 percent) of them were males. Overall, these teenagers were found to be four times as likely to suffer from sleep bruxism (65 percent) compared with those who were not involved in verbal school bullying (17 percent).

The study, titled “Is there an association between verbal school bullying and possible sleep bruxism in adolescents?”, was published in the May issue of the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.

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