Invest in a Healthy Smile for Your Child

healthy smile children's dentist Hudsonville MI

You may have considered what it would cost for your child to have a healthy smile, but what does an unhealthy smile cost?

When you consider the effects of an unhealthy smile for your child, perhaps you think of crooked or discolored teeth, bad breath, or even tooth loss. But a lack of oral hygiene can lead to health problems beyond those in your child’s mouth.

The human body is made of interconnected systems, and the mouth serves as the primary gateway for what enters the body. That means that an unhealthy mouth can result in health problems elsewhere in the body. Similarly, the mouth can serve as a diagnostic tool for other health issues that seem to have little to do with your child’s smile.

How Your Child’s Oral Health Affects Their Body

Did you know your mouth is full of bacteria? Don’t worry — for the most part, this is actually a good thing! A healthy mouth needs to have enough good bacteria to fight off disease-carrying microorganisms that may enter the mouth when you breathe, drink, or eat. 

Unfortunately, not all bacteria in your mouth are quite so beneficial. Plaque forms naturally on your teeth when you consume sugar or carbohydrates. If not brushed or flossed away regularly, certain bacteria will feed on plaque, producing acid that damages teeth and can lead to tooth decay over time.

These are bacteria that lead to oral health issues you probably already know about — gum disease, tooth decay, etc. But weak teeth, inflammation, and bleeding gums can create opportunities for other harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to health issues elsewhere in the body later in life, such as heart disease, stroke, lung disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

More studies are needed to determine if oral health causes other health issues, or if oral health is just linked to overall health in some way. Regardless of whether it comes down to causation or correlation, what matters is that there’s definitely a connection.

Good Oral Hygiene Protects Your Child’s Smile

The link between oral health and overall health is clear. So how do you protect both for your child? Luckily, there are three simple steps that your child can take to promote a healthy smile:

  1. Get them in the habit of brushing their teeth: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. That should eliminate most of the plaque that builds up on their teeth over the course of the day and during the night. 
  2. Make sure they floss daily: If your child brushes their teeth, that will get rid of most, but not all, of their plaque. Unfortunately, your child’s teeth can have some hard-to-reach spots in which plaque can fester and turn into tartar, which is much harder to remove. Flossing lets your child reach those difficult spots to get rid of more plaque.
  3. Schedule a teeth cleaning for your child every six months: Only a professional teeth cleaning can completely remove tartar from teeth. That’s why we recommend that your child get a teeth cleaning every six months. A regular teeth cleaning is also a great opportunity for our dentist to examine your child’s teeth for signs of other oral health issues. That way, we can prevent problems or deal with them while they’re still minor.

Don’t Let an Unhealthy Smile Cost You

Our Hudsonville, MI, pediatric dentist can help your child maintain a healthy smile and promote good oral health and overall health. To schedule an appointment, call Hudsonville Dental Kids today at (616) 209-4039, or contact us online.