Most parents want the best for their children and teach them how to take care of their health. One of the earliest habits we instill in our offspring is oral hygiene, yet cavities remain the number one chronic disease among American children. Aside from the discomfort that tooth decay can cause, experts now have reason to believe that dental issues can also lead to poor academic performance. Lake Orion dentist Dr. Brad Greenfield discusses the research that may connect poor teeth with poor grades.
The Impact of Tooth Decay
Previously, the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC documented that 73% of the disadvantaged children in Los Angeles had dental caries, the disease that makes cavities possible. In their new study, which will appear in the September, 2012, issue of American Journal of Public Health, the Ostrow researchers matched the oral health of these children with their academic records. Children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have grade point averages (GPA’s) under the median of 2.8, compared to children who reported no pain. In addition, less-than-ideal oral health was also linked to poor attendance. Elementary school students missed an average 2.1 days of school due to dental issues, while high school kids missed 2.3 days of school for the same reason. Consequently, parents missed an average 2.5 days of work every year to care for their children’s dental maladies.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
One of the main factors that appeared to contribute to these statistics was little to no access to regular dental care, either because of lack of insurance, lack of an automobile, or some other barrier. In fact, eleven percent of children with limited access to dental care missed school due to dental problems, compared to only four percent of children who had easy access to a dentist.
To help prevent dental issues from negatively affecting your child’s academic career, schedule an appointment with your Lake Orion family dentist by calling our Lake Orion, Michigan, office at (248) 693-6213. We welcome patients from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and the surrounding communities.