It is often difficult for parents to see the value of maintaining good oral health and hygiene for their young children. After all, those baby teeth are merely going to fall out and be replaced with adult teeth.
However, baby teeth that are not in good condition can affect the growth of healthy adult teeth and result in a wide range of dental health conditions later in life. Poor oral health has also been established as the cause or contributing factor in some general health conditions that affect children.
Some of the general health conditions that may be directly related to poor oral health in children include:
We all know that dental health conditions are almost always painful. Cavities, gum disease and abscesses can range anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to intense pain. Children often find it difficult to express this pain but may have problems biting and chewing their food. They may even refrain from eating certain foods or be what a parent may assume is a fussy eater.
Food that is not appropriately chewed results in a wide range of digestive problems, including poor absorption of nutrients. Children who have poor oral health are, therefore, prone to malnutrition or deficiencies in essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. If a child is having difficulty eating or displaying any of the symptoms of malnutrition, a dental checkup may help resolve the issue.
The mouth is integral to communication which plays an essential role in social development in children. Oral or dental health conditions may affect a child’s ability to communicate effectively, resulting in poor speech development. The result of the lack of social progress can have far-reaching consequences in the future of the child, often reaching into late adulthood.
- Mental And Emotional Well-Being
Bad oral health is often associated with poverty, lower class or lousy hygiene. This can place a child in a position where they feel inferior to other children. Dental health issues like missing or rotten teeth can result in bullying, which has both short and long-term consequences for both the mental and emotional well-being of a child.
Children with dental health problems are also more likely to become withdrawn isolating them, which negatively impacts self-esteem and confidence. This can result in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety in young children which is likely to follow them into later life.
- Continued Poor Oral Health
Children who are not taught from a young age to properly care for their teeth and the importance of doing so are more likely to continue with bad habits throughout their lives. Adults who have poor oral health and hygiene practices can suffer from greater physical, emotional and mental health issues than children. Adults with overlapping teeth or suffering from bite discrepancy can opt to get Adult braces to correct the problem.
In adults, poor oral health has been associated with cardiovascular disease, higher risk of developing type II diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and much more.
Annual dental visits for children as well as teaching good oral hygiene habits can ensure healthier, happier and well-rounded kids.