By Claudia Tanner For Mailonline
Published: 11:32 BST, 17 July 2017 | Updated: 11:32 BST, 17 July 2017
Teeth-grinding in teenagers could be a sign they are being bullied, according to new research.
The study found that those experiencing verbal bullying at school were nearly four times as likely to suffer from teeth-grinding at night.
An oral health charity has urged parents to be on the lookout for this symptom to identify and tackle the problem sooner.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: 'Bullying of any form is absolutely abhorrent and can have a both physical and psychological impact, and when experienced in childhood, can lead to trauma that might last throughout adulthood.
'Grinding teeth may not sound like 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.'
Parents should recognise teeth grinding in their children as a potential sign of bullying (file)
More than 6 million people in the UK suffer from the condition,which is also known as bruxism.
Often related to stress or anxiety, it doesn't always cause symptoms but some sufferers experience facial pain and headaches, and it can wear down your teeth over time.
Using a mouth guard or mouth splint reduces the sensation of clenching or grinding your teeth.
They also help reduce pain and prevent tooth wear, as well as protecting against further damage.
Other treatments include muscle-relaxation exercises and sleep hygiene, according to NHS Choices.
If you have stress or anxiety, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended.
Lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking, and managing stress, are also advised to help improve the problem.
Cutting back on alcohol is also recommended because it can make teeth grinding while you're asleep worse.
Teeth-grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and heavy snoring.
A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation analysed 300 13 to 15-year-olds in Brazil and asked them if they were experiencing bullying.
It found that 65 per cent among the bullied students ground their teeth, compared to 17 per cent among the others.
Dr Carter said this had universal