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Most people know that bad dental hygiene will lead to toothaches or unsightly stains and gum disease. However, many are unaware how unhealthy teeth and gums can promote other medical problems, especially in kids. In the last 10 years, researchers have drawn compelling links between bad oral health and serious medical issues in kids.

If you have not been prioritizing your kid’s oral health, here are 6 good reasons to start:

  • Halitosis (Bad Breath)

When you forget to brush your tongue and floss your teeth, you leave behind small food particles that collect smelly bacteria. It breaks down just like old food in your garbage can, causing your kid to have bad breath.

  • Brain Development

Bacteria trapped by plaque travels to major organs like the growing brain. Rather than focusing on growth and development, your kid’s brain now has to battle inflammation.

  • Heart Disease

Studies have shown that oral health can have an indirect impact on kids’ cardiovascular health. In some cases, periodontal disease could result in bacteria entering the bloodstream. The bacteria sticks to the valves and walls of the heart leading to hardening of arteries (a condition known as atherosclerosis). This can cause plaque to accumulate on the inner walls of arteries, leading to decreased blood flow. Kids participating in sports and other physical activities will suffer poor performance due to this.

  • Lungs

According to a study appearing in the Journal of Periodontology, gum disease could increase the risk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These infections are caused when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract.

  • Kidneys

Gum disease is also connected to higher incidences of pancreatic and kidney diseases.  Bacteria in the bloodstream makes it difficult to manage blood sugar levels and can also have an effect on other medical conditions such as diabetes.

  • Narrow Blood Vessels

High levels of disease causing bacteria in the mouth puts your kids at higher risk of clogging of the arterial wall and high blood pressure later in life. When bacteria enters the blood through gums, there is reduced blood flow to vital organs which interferes with growth rate and optimal function of your kid’s body.

The Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene on your Kid's Body

As you can see, poor oral hygiene doesn’t just result in simple toothaches. If your kid has cavities or periodontal disease the effects on the body can be immense. This is why it’s so important for your kids to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. You should also schedule routine cleanings and examinations in order to catch small issues before they evolve into serious problems.