Colgate-Palmolive have carried out a large study that has produced worrying findings relating to the impact that oral problems have on children. These problems include both short-term and long-term problems. The research suggests that parents need to help their children maintain strong oral health, which will provide a range of benefits for them.

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Colgate-Palmolive have published the results of a large study that they undertook, which was based on the impact that oral health problems like dental cavities have on children and their parents.

Their findings were worrying, and showed that children were adversely affected in many ways by poor oral health. The research found that dental problems led to worry, sadness and anxiety, both for children and parents [1].

There are also long-term implications to these problems. As a result, it is crucial to ensure that parents encourage strong oral hygiene for their children, to maintain their health.

Colgate’s Survey

Colgate released this study at the end of October, in line with National Dental Hygiene Month, which is a month where Colgate aim to highlight the importance of dental hygiene.

Colgate conducted research on more than 20,000 parents [1]. These parents were from 12 different nations. Colgate aimed to find out the impact of poor oral health. They asked survey respondents a range of questions about their children’s oral health.

Interestingly, Colgate found that the results were largely the same in each nation. Because of this, it has provided Colgate with useful insights for future research.

1,800 of the surveyed parents were from USA [1]. Out of those parents surveyed, 62% said that their children suffered from dental cavities [1]. This resulted in physical, social and emotional issues.

It was found that oral problems made 30% of children worried and 30% embarrassed [1]. Moreover, 28% of children were sad as a result of their oral health problems [1]. Furthermore, 27% of children felt they couldn’t smile freely, with 24% reporting feelings of anxiety [1].

Colgate found that oral health problems can impede a child’s education and social development. They found that children with oral health problems often had to miss events like birthday parties, family occasions and playing with friends. This was normally due to either the pain or embarrassment caused by dental problems [1].

Impact on parents

The oral health problems of children also heavily impacted parents. 42% of American parents attested to feeling that they had failed their child by not preventing oral health issues [1]. Therefore, this issue has lowered the self-esteem of parents.

50% of parents reported experiencing worry due to their children’s pain and emotional distress [1]. In addition, 36% felt sad and 25% said their children’s pain caused anxiety [1]. Therefore, the issues poor oral health cause affect parents as well as children.

Parents are also forced to take time off of work, and also see their child in pain. Consequently, there are also economic problems. For instance, the CDC found that untreated oral disease costs the economy $45billion per year [2].

The issues can also be more severe for those from low-income households. One study found that children from low-income households were twice as likely to have untreated cavities than children from high-income households [3].

Long-term problems

While there are clearly short-term problems, there are many long-term consequences to having oral health problems as a child. For example, childhood emotional distress has been shown to increase the chances of a person suffering from a mental health condition in the future [4].

Then there is the added issue that those with mental health conditions typically have poorer oral health than the general population. As a result, oral health problems as a child can set off a vicious cycle that affects a person in their adult life.

Several studies have showed this. For example, one study found that when a person has a severe mental illness, they are almost 3 times more likely than the general population to lose all of their teeth [5]. Also, another study found that 61% of survey respondents with a serious mental illness had “sub-optimal” oral health [6].

What this research shows us

The above research shows us how important it is to assist children with their oral health. Therefore, ensuring that children adopt strong oral hygiene is very important. As a result, children will be protected from distress from oral health problems.

This research serves as a reminder to parents that it is very important to take an active interest in the oral health of a child. Providing incentives can help them to learn the importance of oral health. It could also be argued that oral health education could be included in schools.

Colgate-Palmolive’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Maria Ryan commented on the findings. She spoke about how “overall health, emotional health and community health can all depend on oral health” [1]. Furthermore, she said that the study showed that “oral health is a key factor to unlocking a brighter, healthier future for kids, their parents and our communities” [1]. Therefore, the importance of oral health cannot be emphasized enough.

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a dental clinic based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We offer many services, including regular check-ups, cavity fillings, root canals and some cosmetic services.

Any dental problem should be addressed early, and can be identified at check-ups. This helps to prevent the problem getting worse. So, when further treatment is needed after a check-up, we provide our patients with a clear treatment plan. 

The best way of avoiding extra treatment is to have strong oral hygiene. This includes brushing our teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and getting a dental check-up at least twice a year. Avoiding sugary foods and drink and not smoking also helps.

Our Calgary-based dental clinic Taradale Dental also follows the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This means our prices are competitive, transparent and affordable.

We would love you to visit us here at soon! You can see more about us by visiting our website


[1]        Colgate-Palmolive. (2021). Childhood Cavities, the Most Common Disease Among Children, Lead to Significant Physical, Emotional, Social and Economic Distress. Available: Last accessed: October 30th 2021.

[2]        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Disparities in Oral Health. Available: Last accessed: October 30th 2021.

[3]        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Oral Health Surveillance Report, 2019. Available: Last accessed: October 30th 2021.

[4]        Macinnes, M., Macpherson, G., Austin, J., & Schwannauer, M. (2016). Psychiatry Research. 246 (1): p314-320.

[5]        Kisely, S. (2016). No Mental Health without Oral Health. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 61 (5): p277-282.

[6]        Matevosyan, N. R. (2010). Oral Health of Adults with Serious Mental Illnesses: A Review. Community Mental Health Journal. 46 (1): p553-562.