There are many more reasons to keep your teeth clean than just having a nice smile, though that’s a good one too! Tooth decay (also known as cavities or dental caries) affects children in the United States more than any other chronic (long-lasting) infectious disease. If not prevented or properly treated, it can cause infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning.
Kids may also worry about bad breath. Almost everyone has bad breath (also known as halitosis) once in a while. It can be embarrassing, but usually not a problem beyond that. Common causes are:
- bacteria from food stuck to or caught in your teeth
- a dry mouth
- eating certain foods with strong odors or odor producing qualities
- taking certain kinds of medicines
- chewing or smoking tobacco
- respiratory illness.
In some cases, a more serious health-related issue could be causing bad breath. It’s important to talk to a doctor or dentist if it becomes a chronic (long-lasting) problem.
Remember, healthy teeth are one sign of good health.
Check out our “Smile Bright! Tooth care” and “Bad Breath: What to do about it” lessons to remind your children to brush twice daily and let them know that taking care of their teeth is part of a healthy lifestyle.