Poor Oral Health Affects Performance of Children in School

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health argues poor oral health may contribute to bad academic performance of children in school, highlighting the importance of dental care during childhood. The Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study looked at the correlation between the oral health and academic achievement records of close to 1,500 disadvantaged children in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Results of the Study

According to researchers, 73% of disadvantaged children in Los Angeles have dental caries, or tooth decay. Students reporting tooth pain were four times more likely than those without to have a grade point average (GPA) below 2.8. In addition, the study looked at how poor oral health correlates with increased absences from school. Researchers found that for every six days a child was absent, two of them could be attributed to dental problems. That means thirty-three percent of total days missed by students was because of complications with their oral health.

The Importance of Dental Care in Children

Academic performance is not the only reason your child should take care of his or her teeth. Good oral hygiene habits in adult life begin at childhood. The responsibility of establishing those habits is on the shoulders of parents. According to the Ostrow study, 11% of children with limited access to dental care missed school. Compared to only 4% of children who had access to dental care and still missed school, this reveals just how important it is to take your child to the dentist.

Regular dental visits help educate children on the importance of oral hygiene while also establishing a routine less likely to cause serious oral health issues. Children are more likely to develop dental phobias and avoid the dentist as adults if they only visit the dentist when painful dental problems occur. Children should have their teeth cleaned every six months to help maintain oral health and establish a fun, rewarding routine free from serious dental complications. Not only will your child be more likely to succeed in school, he or she will establish a lifelong relationship with good oral health.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Van Wicklen for your child, please call our South Austin dentist office at (512) 448-3131. Visit us online at southaustindentist.com. We serve patients in the 78704 area.