Gingival bleeding tied to dental shame and verbal bullying among adolescents: Study
Recent research reveals that presence of gingival bleeding negatively impacts the social life of adolescents, causing more episodes of verbal bullying.
The study is published in the Journal of Periodontology.
Previous studies have shown that verbal harassment is the most common form of bullying which affects the health and well‐being of children and adolescents, which can perpetuate into adulthood. The presence of gingival bleeding and edema in the anterior region has been pointed as a determining factor in the decline of oral health self‐perception and oral health‐related quality of life (OHRQoL) in adolescents.
Accordingly, gingival bleeding may be a substantial factor in dental appearance and well‐being of adolescents, and consequently in the occurrence of verbal bullying, because children and adolescents commonly judge the physical aspects between them, which can lead to emotional and social problems. However, no scientific evidence of this association has been evaluated.
Hence, Renita Baldo Moraes and colleagues from the Department of Nursing and Dentistry, University of Santa Cruz do Sul, Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil conducted the present study to assess the association between gingival bleeding and reports of verbal bullying among adolescents.
The authors carried out this cross‐sectional study with a representative sample of 608 12‐year‐old adolescents from southern Brazil. The occurrence of verbal bullying was verified through adolescents' self‐report. Oral health measurements included the presence of gingival bleeding, dental fracture, dental fluorosis, and dental caries experience.
Gingival bleeding was assessed through adolescent self‐perception by the following question: "Did you notice any bleeding in your gums?" Demographic, socioeconomic, and psychosocial variables were also evaluated. Poisson regression models with robust variance were used to evaluate the influence of gingival bleeding on the occurrence of verbal bullying. Results are presented as prevalence ratio (PR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).
The results showed that –
- Out of 608 adolescents evaluated, 577 answered bullying questions.
- The prevalence of self‐reported verbal bullying was 12.8%.
- Adolescents who presented gingival bleeding had an 80% higher prevalence of verbal bullying than their counterparts (PR 1.80; 95% CI 1.01 ‐3.19).
- Dental shame, speech difficulties and influence of dental condition on studies also impacted the higher prevalence of bullying.
Therefore, it was concluded that "the presence of gingival bleeding negatively impacts the social life of adolescents, causing more episodes of verbal bullying. These findings encourage public health policies aimed at reducing oral health inequities, thus reflecting on the well‐being and quality of life of this target population."