Children’s oral health and the impact on their general health are inextricably linked, and therefore both shouldn’t be treated in isolation. There have been significant improvements in children’s oral health over the years, though significant inequalities still remain. It’s a fact that oral disease may have the detrimental effect on a person’s psychological and physical well-being. It also reduces the quality of life, and children are no exception to these effects.
Effect On School Readiness
Children with the severe oral disease might have frequent absences from school together with child development programs.
Together with causing infection and pain in children, poor oral health also may be linked with low weight as well as failure to thrive during infancy. These impacts are not only limited to a child but also the family and even society, including absence from school plus the need for parents to take a day off from work so as to enable them to attend hospital appointments because of the child’s dental problem. Therefore, good oral health is going to contribute to school readiness.
Difficulty in Chewing
Children having the toothache or severe oral disease may experience difficulty chewing. The children are not going to eat enough food or might have modified diets which don’t contain the essential nutrients needed for their healthy growth and development.
Children suffering from the severe oral disease are also going to suffer psychologically from reduced self-esteem. They are going to be reluctant to smile because of the embarrassment caused by the appearance of their teeth. Consequently, they may isolate themselves from other children and this may have a devastating result on their psychological and emotional well-being and development.
Difficulty in Sleeping
Infants and children who suffer from severe oral disease also may have difficulty in sleeping. This is going to have a negative effect on their general health associated with lack of enough sleep.
Evidence indicates that poor oral health might be also indicative of dental neglect plus wider safeguarding problems. Dental neglect is described as persistent failure to meet the basic oral requirements of a child, and this is likely to result in severe impairment of the child’s oral and general well-being or development.
Children having high levels of disease in their primary teeth also have increased the risk of the disease in their permanent teeth. When treated, the teeth are going to need long-term maintenance throughout life.
Understanding the way children’s oral health is linked to their general health is going to help health professionals in interpreting the potential causes of oral health issues and their effect on the general health. Therefore, health professionals should be observant of the children’s behavior and appearance. Those children exhibiting symptoms of dental problems should be referred to a dentist for further evaluation and possible intervention.
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