Children’s Dental Health- 5 Lifelong Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene

Did you know that 50% of kids aged 6-8 have at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and over 50% of kids from 12-19 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth? Life can be so busy that prioritizing your children’s dental health can slip through the cracks.  It’s easy to forget asking them about their brushing and flossing habits in the midst of homework, extra curriculars and chores, but it’s so important to ensure that your kids are taking care of their teeth. The problems of poor dental hygiene don’t just stop at expensive procedures and bad breath. 

Read to discover 5 detrimental effects poor dental hygiene have on a child that can affect them for the rest of their life.

1. Pain

Loose teeth aren’t the only thing that cause dental pain. There are plenty of diseases and infections from bacteria that can cause pain as well. Pain is possibly the most common result of poor dental hygiene, but unfortunately often there is not much that can be done to relieve the discomfort. That’s why it’s so much better to just try to prevent the cause of the pain in the first place. Now dental pain alone is undesirable, but this pain can lead to other consequences that affect your child’s life.

2. Lower grades

Children are always looking for ways to miss school, but pain from poor oral health is a legitimate one. According to a study done by PubMed Central, children with poor oral health were 3 times more likely to miss school because of dental pain. Sometimes the pain may not be enough to keep your child from school, but any level of dental pain can also cause your child to become distracted in class. The pain may prevent them from concentrating on the lesson and their work. Being distracted or missing school will lead to falling behind in classes and homework, and eventually, poorer grades.

3. Negative effects on mental health

Poor dental health can have significant consequences on your child’s mental health as well as physical health. It’s not unusual for children to become sensitive about their smile or embarrassed when someone comments on the yellowing of their teeth, and this embarrassment can turn into low self-esteem.

In addition to the social pressure, the constant pain and discomfort that comes with damaged teeth and gums may lead children to feeling depressed and hopeless. Pain can also lead to isolation. Your child won’t enjoy hanging out with friends or being in social settings due to the pain distracting them from having fun.

The mental effects of poor oral hygiene can be terrible, but so are the physical effects.

4. Lifelong infections and illness

When bacteria in your child’s mouth is not cleaned or removed, the bacteria will eventually get flushed to your child’s stomach. Since children’s digestive systems are still in the middle of developing, they are particularly vulnerable to the bacteria that travels from the mouth to your stomach or intestines and creates digestive problems. Simple problems like bloating, constipation, or gas can all be uncomfortable and annoying, but digestive issues can also lead to malnutrition in children because they are unable to digest their food properly. Malnutrition can also be caused by your child refusing to eat because of the pain when they chew.

Another very serious infection gained from poor dental health is gingivitis, which will eventually turn into periodontal disease. This infection attacks the gums and is incredibly difficult to cure. It leads to pain and swelling in the gums, and in some cases, even tooth loss.

5. Poor speech

Every part of our mouth from our tongue to our teeth is used in pronunciation, but if your child has missing or damaged teeth, it has the potential to cause them to lisp or slur their words. Unfortunately, you must correct the root issue by repairing the damage to your child’s oral health in addition to partnering with a speech therapist.

  Poor speech may also be caused by the embarrassment your child has about their teeth. They may refrain from opening their mouth as wide as needed when speaking, which will result in mumbling. This habit can take a very long time to break.



Neglecting your children’s dental health can have long-lasting detrimental effects on their school performance, their relationships and their mental and physical health. But fortunately the solution is simple!  Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Download a fun app with a timer or practice your ABCs twice. Floss once a day, at least, and schedule regular visits to your dentist.

We love to partner with our patients of any age to promote better oral hygiene, so don’t hesitate to call and schedule your next check up too! 

dental clinic logo

About Our Team

Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in the field of dentistry and a passion for educating our patients on the importance of good dental hygiene. To learn more about them, please visit our team page 

Our staff is dedicated to making sure that your entire experience is the best it can possibly be. Whatever your needs are, our team is trained to listen and offer the best advice and guidance in choosing the services that best meet your needs. 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.