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Tooth Decay is More Common in Children Exposed to Dysfunction or Trauma

Unhappy childAccording to a new study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children who grow up in a dysfunctional household are more likely to experience tooth decay and other dental diseases. In addition, children who experience more than 4 dysfunctional childhood events prior to the age of 18 were much less likely to visit a dentist for preventative care.

Dysfunctional or Traumatic Events

The children involved in the study were between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. Sociodemographic information, oral health histories, and adverse childhood experiences were all a part of the study.

Adverse and dysfunctional childhood events are listed as the following:

  • Parental death
  • Parental divorce or separation
  • Witnessing household violence
  • Living with a parent or caregiver with mental illness
  • Living with a parent or caregiver who has a substance abuse problem
  • Economic hardship
  • Ethnic or racial mistreatment

Around 88% of children have had a preventative care dental visit within the last 12 months, but those children who experienced 4 or more of the above childhood events were less likely to have had preventative care visits than those who did not. In fact, 27% of children with 4 or more traumas suffered from extensive tooth decay and dental cavities.

Because we now know that childhood trauma can have a negative effect on dental health, it’s important for parents, caregivers, pediatricians, and dentists to look for these problems in at-risk children.

If your child is at risk for dental disease or if it’s time to schedule a preventative appointment for a dental cleaning and a checkup, please contact Piedmont Pediatric Dentistry here in Greensboro, North Carolina. We believe that all children should be provided with quality dental care, no matter their circumstances or socioeconomic standing.

Posted on Nov 27, 2019

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