Dental issues in children can most certainly cause discomfort.  However, what many parents may not realize is how much dental issues impact children’s overall health and well-being.  Everything from eating habits, sleeping habits, school attendance and more can be impacted when a child has dental issues. In the article we’ll talk about all the ways dental issues can impact children’s health.

Children with poor oral health status miss more school

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, children with poor oral health status were nearly 3 times more likely than were their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain. In other words, children with poorer oral health status were more likely to experience dental pain and therefore miss school, as parents felt an absence was justified due to the pain the child was experiencing.

Children with dental issues did not perform as well in school

In the same study, it was noted that children who suffered from dental pain, even if it was considered to be somewhat minor and manageable pain, did not perform as well in school. While part of the performance issue was linked to the number of absences due to pain and subsequent dental visits to address the issue, it was also noted that a child’s ability to concentrate was negatively impacted by oral pain, resulting in diminished school performance.

Dental pain in children negatively impacts their sleep

Children are no different than adults: when they are in pain it’s difficult to sleep. While disturbed sleep can also impact school performance, it has been noted that poor sleep can do much more harm than poor grades. Dental issues and the pain resulting from those issues can affect children’s quality of life and thereby growth. Impacts include pain, irritability and disturbed sleeping habits. Disturbed sleep habits can in turn impact any number of other health-related issues with children.

Dental issues can impact a child’s diet

When you’re in pain, eating can become a real challenge.  As an adult, we can decide what foods we can eat that won’t exacerbate the pain and still be healthy. That’s not the case with children, who will often simply not eat if they’re experiencing pain.  Unfortunately, not every child will tell their parent that they have a cavity or they are in pain, feeling that they may be in trouble for not taking care of their teeth. Instead, they’ll simply not eat what is in their lunch, or trade it away for soft, unhealthy foods. If you’re struggling what to feed your child while they’re experiencing this pain, as a pediatric dentist for advice on healthy foods they can eat.

Oral health affects children physically and psychologically

Oral health affects children physically and psychologically and influences how they grow, enjoy life, look, speak, chew, taste food and socialize, as well as their feelings of social well-being. While the pain can be difficult to deal with, some children suffer from more extreme situations of impacted speech or disfigurement as a result of poor oral health. The affects are both mental and physical.

Good dental health habits in young children can set them up for a life of good oral health.  In addition, it can set them up for overall well-being by allowing them to perform pain free in school, eat a healthy diet, sleep well, and have better health overall.