A healthy smile starts early. Healthy gums and clean teeth translate into better overall health for children. Untreated oral conditions can interfere with a child’s speech, nutrition, sleep, and classroom focus. They can also have a significant effect on psychosocial development, self-esteem and interaction with peers.
Dental infections can go unnoticed for years are a continual strain on the immune system as a result of the continual infiltration of bacteria and their toxins. On occasion, such infections may become life-threatening as a result of their spread to the jaws and throughout the body, including the brain or heart.
Oral health of expectant mothers’ is also vital to health of her baby. Gum disease, in particular, is considered an important risk factor for preterm delivery of low-birth-weight infants being at higher risk of neurological deficits (e.g. cerebral palsy), health problems (such as asthma, upper and lower respiratory infections, and ear infections), congenital anomalies, and behavioral problems (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). These children also exhibit lower levels of achievement in reading, spelling and math. Mothers with periodontal infection are also at higher risk of developing pregnancy diabetes.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental checkup either at the appearance of their first tooth or at the latest, by their first birthday. At early visits, we have an opportunity to introduce a child to the dental setting in a caring, non-threatening environment, and to educate the parents. Dental problems when detected early are also a lot easier and less expensive to treat, and have a better prognosis. Children receiving regular check-ups and routine dental care rather than being treated only for dental emergencies report lower level of dental fear, allow the dentist to execute required treatment plan, and are less likely to avoid going to the dentist in later life.