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Physical and mental health for young children
Physical and mental health for young children

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8.1 Effects of poor oral health

Despite the amount of information about the importance of a healthy diet, regular and effective toothbrushing from babyhood and free dental care, poor dental health is a significant cause of concern. Poor oral health and dental decay can impact significantly on children’s day-to-day lives, causing pain, school absence and loss of sleep. In turn, this can affect children’s behaviour, making them irritable and less able to concentrate.

Teeth removal is a major reason that children are admitted to hospital, thus they are having an anaesthetic and surgery which is completely avoidable. Not only is this an unnecessary expense for the NHS but, very importantly, this has an impact on children’s mental health. For a child, being admitted to hospital and enduring a painful procedure is an example of how a physical condition can have an impact on their wellbeing and mental health. You will return to the challenges associated with promoting good oral health and avoiding dental decay later in the course.