Your child’s dental health isn’t just about shiny, white teeth. You might be surprised to learn the health of your child’s teeth and gums can have a major impact on your child’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Studies show poor oral health increases a child’s risk of developing chronic diseases, can lower their academic performance and can affect how they speak and interact with their peers. The good news is you can help your child develop an oral health care routine at a young age that they can carry with them over their lifetime.
Here are five ways dental health impacts a child’s overall health:
Poor dental health increases a child’s chance of developing heart disease
Research shows poor dental health is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. If your child isn’t properly cleaning their teeth and gums on a daily basis, it can lead to a buildup of plaque inside their mouth. That plaque is full of bacteria – some good and some bad.
Read More: Baby’s Oral Health: From The First Tooth To The First Trip To The Dentist
The bad bacteria can get into the bloodstream and travel to the arteries. Plaque can then form around the arteries and lead to cardiovascular disease.If you spend between seven and 10 minutes a day properly cleaning your child’s teeth and gums, you can help prevent plaque buildup. Seeing a dentist on a regular basis for dental cleanings is also an effective way to ensure you’re removing plaque properly.
Oral And Dental Health Affects Academic Performance
Oral and dental health doesn’t just affect overall health but academic performance as well. A study published in the Journal of Public Health showed that for every 100 students, 58 and 80 hours of school are missed each school year because of dental problems. Parents also missed an average of 2.5 days of work dealing with these problems.
If your child is in pain because of a cavity, it could make it harder for them to concentrate in class. This will affect how they perform academically. We recommend visiting a dentist during summer and winter school breaks to identify any areas of concern. If you’re able to address any dental problems during this time, it will save you time during the school year.
Dental Problems Can Affect A Child’s Speech
Some orthodontic problems in a child’s mouth can affect how well they pronounce certain words. As the child gets older, if they don’t receive proper treatment for this issue, doctors say they’re at risk of becoming self-conscious, which could lead them to withdraw socially both at school and at home. Visiting a dentist and pediatrician on a regular basis is a helpful way to monitor speech for any red flags.
Proper Oral Hygiene Can Prevent Future Health Complications
If your child isn’t taking proper care of their teeth and gums, it can lead to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Studies show gum disease is linked to several health problems including endocarditis, pregnancy and birth complications, and Alzheimer’s disease. If your child’s gums are bleeding or swollen, it could be a sign of gum disease.
A dentist can help you identify with an oral care plan to prevent gum disease from getting worse. Treating gum disease effectively can benefit your child’s health in the long run.
Read More: Creating A Healthy Lifestyle Is Easier Than You Realize: 18 Hacks to Help
Poor Oral and Dental Health Is Linked To Respiratory Illnesses
Not only can bacteria in the mouth get into the arteries and travel to the heart, they can also travel to the lungs. Once the bacteria is in the lungs, it can cause a buildup of plaque, which can harden the lungs and lead to respiratory infections. This can make it difficult for a child to breathe and lead to pneumonia.
Children are like sponges. They absorb information and crave structure. That’s why you have the perfect opportunity when they’re young to help them develop a healthy, lifelong habit and love of oral hygiene. The earlier you start caring for your child’s teeth and gums, the more likely they’ll continue to practice proper oral hygiene on a daily basis.
Read More: Facts About Brushing Your Teeth: It Doesn’t Prevent Cavities
You can start cleaning your child’s gums before they even have teeth. Let your child watch you brush and clean your teeth every day so they see it’s part of your daily routine. Take them to a pediatric dentist at age 1 so you can learn the proper way to care for their teeth and to make them comfortable with dentist visits at a young age.
Practicing proper oral care at home is the best prevention for future dental and health complications. It will also save you money on any future costs associated with poor dental health.
Dr. Charles Reinertsen traded in retirement to continue educating families on the surprising impact oral health has on overall health. For 40 years, he served the dental needs of his Central Florida community before retiring and starting the nonprofit The Dental Medical Convergence.
The organization provides families with the latest medical research, educational tools, and information they need to make healthy choices when it comes to their oral health. Dr. Chuck gained recognition for his TEDx talk on the subject of the mouth’s impact on overall health. Learn more at thedentalmedicalconvergence.org.
Photo Credits: Pixabay, Pexels
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