You do everything possible to help your kids find personal success. And making sure they see the dentist regularly could be even more important than you realize. Not just because you’re preventing cavities - the ramifications of healthy teeth echo throughout children’s lives, impacting their confidence, happiness, and even their academic performance.

Cavities and other dental problems are the number one cause of school absences. And the more days your child misses, the harder it is for them to catch up with their classmates. Frequent illness can lead to the kind of academic difficulties that have a significant impact on grades and on the learning process.

February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, but we feel that this makes March is an even more valuable time to reflect on kids’ oral health. Now that the special month is over, make sure that you’re living year-round with a focus on your children’s healthy teeth. They need your help to thrive, and regular exams are a big step. Keep reading to learn more about how staying cavity-free will help your kids, both in the classroom and out.

How Oral Health Affects Kids’ Lives


There’s a lot more involved with a cavity than temporary pain and a resulting filling, especially if cavities are commonplace during childhood. Your kids will struggle if they experience frequent decay. Problems may include any of the following:

  • School absences – If a cavity is left alone, it will develop into a painful problem. While regular exams typically turn up decay before it can become a dental emergency, skipping appointments makes it possible for them to take hold. When a cavity needs to be dealt with right away because it’s making your child uncomfortable, this disrupts both their school schedule and your own work routine. Missed school is always wise to avoid - your children can get thrown off their lesson plan, miss out on social opportunities, and feel like they’re not getting the same treatment as their peers.
  • Changes in confidence – Building self esteem while young will impact your children’s confidence for life. They tend to build their sense of self around how they look and feel on a regular basis. If their teeth aren’t formed properly due to decay, they might be self conscious or try to hide their smiles. Other children may also point out their differences and make them feel uncomfortable. This can impact how outgoing your kids are, and keep them from speaking up in class or during school activities.
  • Tooth development issues – Baby teeth do fall out, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important to your child’s smile. These structures guide the development of permanent teeth. They create space in the jaw for those future teeth, and help ensure healthy, straight, proper tooth development. Avoiding cavities in baby teeth is helpful both in the present and future.

  • Rise of dental anxiety - Dental anxiety is a serious problem for countless adults, but most actually experienced the development of their anxiety during childhood. This is usually related to the need for fillings or other stressful dental work at a young age. Avoiding cavities helps you keep your kids feeling positive about the dentist’s office. If you can prevent the formation of dental anxiety while they’re young, they’re more likely to be comfortable in the dentist’s office as adults.

Long-Term Ramifications of Healthy Teeth During Childhood

Cavities impact your child’s life, plain and simple. In addition to causing school absences, dental caries influence kids’ ability to learn by distracting them from their goals. The pain associated with cavities can cause poor sleep, which impacts concentration. Untreated decay can also lead to nutritional issues because the child is unable to chew crunchier fruit and vegetables, or get a well-rounded diet.

We build the way we approach our world while we’re young. Make sure your children are feeling confident, getting a great education, and establishing healthy tooth growth by scheduling their regular dental exams.

Seattle General Dentist | General Dentistry Seattle | General Dentist Seattle
Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.