As a parent, your child’s health is always your primary concern. However, children don’t always make it easy for you. Ensuring that your child is healthy often comes down to small details. When it comes to oral health, it can be harder to determine if your child is maintaining a quality routine. A poor dental routine in children can have detrimental, long-lasting effects on their emotional, social, and physical health.
The Effects of Untreated Tooth Decay
There are varying opinions about when your child should start seeing a dentist. You can start taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth pops or by their first birthday; this ensures that healthy oral hygiene habits develop early. At the age of one year, your child should begin having a cleaning and checkup every six months. These periodic exams help diagnose any tooth or gum disease early.
According to the California Dental Association, tooth decay is the number one chronic health problem in children. By kindergarten, approximately half of children will have some form of tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can have expensive and long-term consequences. Advanced tooth decay in children can lead to:
- Premature tooth loss
- Trouble chewing
- Nutrient deficiency
- Shifting teeth
- The need for orthodontics in the future
Your Child’s Smile and Happiness
The California Dental Association estimates that almost 50% of children will miss some school due to oral health problems. Frequent absences from school can hurt your child’s academic performance and overall success.
However, children miss school not only because of dental pain and gum disease but also because their tooth decay may make them a target of bullying. Poor oral hygiene has a significant impact on the self-esteem of both children and adults.
Low self-esteem in children can have a significant and long-term impact on their happiness and success. It is believed that children and teens with low self-esteem are more likely to:
- Have poor school achievement
- Exhibit violent or criminal behavior
- Be the victim of bullying
- Smoke or abuse alcohol and drugs
- Suffer from depression
- Have thoughts of suicide
Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health
As a parent, you can help your children maintain good oral health. Make sure your children brush their teeth morning and night. You should provide them with a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Routine flossing is also ideal for preventing cavities. Monitoring what your children eat is also an important aspect of ensuring strong, healthy teeth. Avoid allowing your child to snack on sugar-packed food. Instead, provide them with tooth-friendly alternatives such as dairy products, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. Additionally, don’t forget their six-month checkups to prevent any problems.
If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Sands today. Call our office at (818) 306-5153 or contact us online.