Poor Child Dental Health Risks That May Surprise You According to a new report from the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, your child’s oral health has an impact well beyond their teeth. Entitled Oral Health and Learning, the report outlines how poor oral health can affect a child’s learning and productivity in school, and ultimately how productive they are as adults.
Unfortunately, millions of kids are living with “persistent dental pain, endurance of dental abscesses (infection in the mouth), inability to chew foods well, embarrassment about discolored and damaged teeth, and distraction from play and learning,” according to the report.
Here are some of the more compelling findings from the report:
Kids are more likely to have emotional issues if they also have dental health problems, including feeling “worthless and inferior, shy, unhappy, sad or depressed.”
Kids with oral health problems average nearly one more missed day of school a year.
Children with oral health problems have a higher probability of not completing their homework.
Oral disease can lead to a diminished appetite, depression, and a inattentive child, which in turn leads to poor school performance.
Kids in low income families who experienced toothaches in the prior six months were six times more likely to miss school than children in the same economic bracket who did not have a toothache.
The moral of the story is fairly simple. Children who are not getting proper oral care are more likely to be living in pain and missing out on school or under-performing. The effects are far reaching. So while it’s important for all of us to have a beautiful smile, it may also play a role in what kind of adults our kids turn out to be.