The Importance of Children’s Dental Health
February 15, 2021
About 16.9 percent of children aged five to 19 in the United States have untreated tooth decay. This is according to data collected from 2013 to 2016 by the National Center for Health Statistics. Fortunately, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Here’s why it’s important to talk about proper dental health care among kids:
Baby Teeth Matter
One of the most prevalent infectious diseases in children is dental caries. That’s why the American Dental Association urges parents to have their child be seen by a dentist at least by age one. Healthy dental habits have to start as soon as the first tooth comes in. If your child’s baby teeth are lost too early, the remaining teeth may move and not leave any room for permanent ones to erupt. Besides, if their tooth decay is not prevented, it can become costly to treat. The disease may also cause pain and severe infections.
Poor Oral Health Can Affect Your Child’s Ability to Learn
Many children are not able to verbalize their dental pain. Oral issues can result in increased inattention and distractibility. It may even lead to depression and decreased appetite. Teachers may mistake these for something else. If not treated, the discomfort and infection can have adverse effects on their ability to eat, speak, and learn. This can negatively impact their self-esteem and academic performance. Research shows that children and teenagers with dental health problems tend to be less likely to do all their homework and have school issues. This is compared to those young students without dental problems.
Dental Infections Can Lead to Severe Medical Conditions
Studies have long established the correlation between tooth infection and other health problems. Decayed teeth are an ideal environment for pathogens to flourish. Root canals are particularly vulnerable to infection. This is because immune cells cannot enter the damaged tooth and fight off the harmful microorganisms. Bacteria, molds, fungi, and viruses that affect your teeth can move into your bloodstream at a steady rate. Your teeth are connected to the rest of your body. A significant body of research confirms how oral infection is associated with heart disease, hepatitis, and cancer of the kidney, lung, and pancreas.
Tooth Decay Is Preventable
While it’s true that dental caries is a common problem in children, it’s almost always entirely preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that fluoride varnish can prevent 33 percent of baby teeth cavities. Similarly, children who brush their teeth every day with fluoridated toothpaste tend to suffer from fewer cavities. The same goes for those who live in areas with fluoridated tap water. The CDC also affirmed that applying dental sealants to the back teeth’s chewing surfaces helps prevent as much as 80 percent of cavities.
Learn more about the importance of children’s dental health & pediatric dental exams, contact Armbrust Dental in Omaha, Nebraska, at (402) 396-000.