Beauty is good. Beauty is character. Beauty is competence. That's the "halo effect." And the halo effect is alive and well and living on playgrounds everywhere.
Not so good, if you're one of the unfortunates without a halo. Especially if you're a child called Beaver or Dopey or Goofy.
Not so long ago, a study of British schoolchildren revealed that the appearance of teeth was the fourth most common target for teasing. Children suffered under nicknames like Bugs Bunny, Fang and Dracula. Furthermore, children who were teased were twice as likely to be harassed, subject to verbal or physical intimidation, lying or other abuses, than children who were not teased.
Although height, weight and hair were also factors in teasing, ridicule about their teeth caused children the greatest amount of unhappiness.
Researchers were concerned that exposure to the sustained taunts and insults of peers would predispose some children to a lowered self-confidence and self-image.
Thousands of children need early care — some as young as three years old. Early diagnosis and monitoring allows us to take full advantage of a time when your child's bone and facial structure are easier to shape.
If you think the odds of a young child having orthodontic problems are remote, consider these facts: Two out of three people have orthodontic problems, which should be treated. A fourth of the problems are severe, says the American Association of Orthodontists. Orthodontic defects aren't limited to protruding teeth or underbites.
Often the problems relate to the overall structure of the mouth and face. Frequently they don't show up in a smile at all.
That's why an orthodontic checkup and braces, if necessary, should be a part of every child's health care program.