How Does Bad Oral Health Affect a Child? 


Bad oral health can have short- and long-term effects on a child’s development and wellbeing. Here are some: 

  • Tooth decay. Improper oral hygiene practices, such as infrequent brushing and flossing, can lead to tooth decay (cavities) in children. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain, discomfort and difficulty eating, which can affect a child’s nutrition and overall health. 
  • Gum disease. Neglected oral health can also lead to gum disease, which can cause swollen, bleeding gums, bad breath and eventually, tooth loss. Gum disease can impact a child’s ability to chew and speak properly. 
  • Pain and discomfort. Dental problems, such as cavities or infections, can result in toothaches and oral pain. This discomfort can disrupt a child’s daily activities, including eating, speaking and concentrating in school. 

Long-term impact of poor oral health 

In addition, poor oral health can affect the children’s health, long-term development, academic performance and even their economic future: 

  • Impact on growth and development. Dental issues, if left untreated, can affect the proper growth and development of a child’s teeth and jaws. Misaligned teeth, bite problems or speech issues may arise, potentially requiring orthodontic treatment later in life. 
  • Absence from school. Children with oral health problems may need to miss school for dental appointments or to address dental pain. Frequent absences can disrupt their education and academic performance. 
  • Impact on self-esteem. Dental problems, such as tooth decay, missing teeth or discoloured teeth, can affect a child’s self-esteem and confidence. They may feel self-conscious about their appearance, which can impact their social interactions and emotional well-being. 
  • Systemic health implications. Poor oral health is linked to various systemic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. While the direct cause-effect relationship is complex, maintaining good oral health is important for overall systemic health in the long run. 

To prevent those problems, it’s important to take your child to the dentist once they’re 12 months of age (or within 6 months when the first tooth comes out). This way, the dentist can immediately see oral development problems if there are any. The dentist can also guide you on how to help your child best when it comes to proper oral care. 

Helping children maintain good oral health 

Here at Specialist Kids Dentist, our Dental Board Certified Specialist Paediatric Dentists will take care of your child and proactively prevent oral development problems. Our practice has been established for over 20 years. Through those years, we’ve helped children maintain good oral health and also helped parents gain peace of mind about their children’s gums and teeth.