Can Dental Disease Affect Your Child’s Academic Performance?

Tooth decay remains one of the most common diseases among school-aged children, second only to the common cold. More than half of children have had cavities in their primary (baby) teeth, which can spread to their permanent teeth forming underneath the gums. Research now shows that dental issues may be associated with poor academic performance and attendance in children who don’t have access to regular dental care. Dr. Coon, your Sheridan dentist, explores the possible connection between poor oral health and poor grades.

Cavities and School

An Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study, which will appear in the September, 2012, issue of the American Journal of Public Health, examined 1500 socioeconomically disadvantaged children throughout Los Angeles’ Unified School District. Previously, Ostrow researchers reported that 73% of Los Angeles’ disadvantaged children had tooth decay. The new study exposes a link between these kids’ oral health and their academic performance. Children who reported having tooth discomfort were four times more likely to have a grade-point average (GPA) below the median GPA of 2.8.
Decaying teeth also seem to affect the children’s school attendance. Elementary school children had an average of six absences from school, 2.1 of which were due to dental problems. High school kids missed an average of only 2.6 days, but 2.3 of them were also due to oral health issues. Parents missed a similar average of 2.5 days of work to attend to children suffering dental issues.

A Little Care Goes a Long Way

A factor in these statistics is limited access to dental care. When it comes to oral health, prevention is usually the best treatment. Be sure to teach your children to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, and try to limit their intake of sugary and acidic foods. Your child should also visit the dentist office at least once every six months for a comprehensive checkup and cleaning. To learn about excellent child tooth care, schedule a consultation at Grinnell Street Dental by contacting our Sheridan dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.