Inline Orthodontics, the only specialist orthodontics practice in Stevenage, is conducting an anti-bullying campaign during Anti Bullying Week between 19 and 23 November 2012.
On 16 November, a meeting is being held to discuss ways in which professionals in Stevenage can help young people who are being bullied.
Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland will be spearheading the start of the campaign at 1.00 pm and this will be followed by a moderated discussion with key members of the local community including head teachers, sports club leaders and dentists who have been invited to participate.
Young people are also being asked to contribute to the debate by describing their experiences of bullying whilst their parents will be asked how this affected their children.
13% of adolescents aged between 10-14 years old examined for orthodontic treatment had been bullied
Inline Orthodontics was inspired to join the anti bullying campaign after reading about research which showed that being bullied is significantly associated with orthodontic treatment need. The practice’s experience is that many young people seek orthodontic treatment to help with their confidence or after having been bullied at school about their dental appearance.
Three hundred and thirty six adolescents in the UK aged between 10-14 years of age took part in this study which was published in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Orthodontics.
The key findings of the study show that nearly 13% of adolescents aged between 10-14 years old examined for orthodontic treatment had been bullied. This equates to 13 out of every 100 young people who need orthodontic treatment.
The conclusion of the study was that being bullied is significantly associated with orthodontic treatment need More importantly the negative impact on a child’s psychological status was reported and it is clear that being bullied can have both short-term and long-term effects on physiological and psychological well-being.
Jonathan Alexander-Abt, principal orthodontist at Inline Orthodontics, said: 'Bullying for whatever reason is deplorable and should never be tolerated. This research shows that a significant number of children are being bullied because of the position and appearance of their teeth.
'As a specialist orthodontist I feel that it is important to raise awareness of this and reassure young people that there is something we can do to help them.'
If parents have concerns about their child’s dental appearance, in the first instance they should speak with their family dentist to see what can be done to help.
Every child in the UK is entitled to a free assessment to see if they are suitable for orthodontic treatment on the NHS.
For more information about Inline Orthodontics’ Anti Bullying Campaign please visit www.inlineortho.co.uk or telephone 01483 765 395.
Inline Orthodontics will also be giving out blue Beat Bullying campaign bracelets to every patient who visits the practice through to the end of November.
It is hoped that an action plan will be drawn up and its findings published after the meeting.