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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.

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