Getting children to brush and floss regularly can be a chore at times, but it is a very important one. Recent studies have found that bad dental hygiene early in life can lead to other problems in adulthood. As a result, it is critical that children brush and floss regularly, and that they get regular cleanings at the dentist.
Part of this study found a correlation between income status and dental health. This is such an unfortunate relationship, given that toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss are so inexpensive. Indeed, some programs will provide them for free to those in need.
Yet, studies find that a family’s economic status often reflects in the teeth of their children. Children from lower income families tended to have more cavities, missing teeth, and damaged teeth than those of the middle and upper class. Children of wealthy families had the best overall dental health, with virtually no missing teeth or persistent cavities.
The questions becomes whether these problems are caused by poor diet, bad hygiene, or other social influences. The state of one’s teeth have been traced to the relative level of success and acceptance that person receives later in life. People with straight, white teeth receive a more positive reaction in tests than people whose teeth could not be seen or were yellow or crooked, but who were very successful, very smart, or wealthy.
This leads one to wonder if good oral hygiene may be the precursor to later success, or simply a side-effect of that success? Are the wealthy possessed of better teeth because they can afford better care or because they have been raised in an environment where importance is placed on good oral hygiene?
Of course, the lessons learned in childhood carry over into one’s adult years. A child’s oral health has been shown to correlate to their dental health later in life. A child with multiple cavities and missing teeth will often have similar problems later in life. This is probably because they never learned the lessons necessary to maintain good oral health as a child. But, it may also be an indication that bacteria have taken root that would otherwise not pose such a threat to teeth had they not been allowed to flourish so during childhood.
Whatever the case, having a straight, white smile is important to not just dental health, but also to one’s overall health and success in life. For these reasons, it is vital to ensure that every child is given the best opportunity possible by teaching excellent oral hygiene practices. Failing to do so can cause a lifetime of pain, both in terms of oral discomfort and social unease. That is why it is critical to help every child learn good habits now and to ensure they receive regular dental checkups and cleanings.