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How Teeth affect Health

Teeth and Growth/Development

*This webpage is for information purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for professional dental advice.*

Fast Facts
  • Poor oral health can affect your child’s physical development.
  • Pain while chewing can affect what and how much your child eats.
  • An unbalanced diet can lead to malnutrition.
  • Severe early childhood tooth decay might mean a child doesn’t have enough iron in the body.


There's a lot going on behind your child's smile.

Your child's teeth are connected to the rest of your child's body in some surprising ways. For example, did you know that dental problems could affect your child's growth and development?

How Sore Gums and Teeth Affect Nutrition

Good nutrition is important for your baby or child’s growth and development.

If your child's teeth or gums hurt when he's chewing, he might not eat enough food, or he might eat only certain types of food.

Not being able or willing to chew food may limit the selection of food. A limited selection of food means your child might not get the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet. If your child will eat only small amounts of food or only certain kinds of foods it can lead to problems like malnutrition and iron deficiency. If the behaviour continues he might eventually become malnourished.

Research shows that children with severe early childhood tooth decay have low levels of iron in the body (iron deficiency). An iron deficiency can affect normal physical growth and brain development.

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Revised: March 24, 2020

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