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Poor School Performance? Check Your Child’s Teeth

Posted on March 16th, 2013

Your child’s dental health can affect his ability to learn!

In a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, nearly 41,000 school age children in the United States were studied to assess the effects of dental health on performance in school. The data used was taken from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health.

Their conclusion?  Children with poor oral health and general health were nearly 2  times more likely to have significant issues with school performance.  The findings pointed to the need for proper preventive care and follow up both in the home and at the dentist and strongly suggested that with these, a child’s educational experience could be vastly improved. Simply put, your child’s dental health can affect his ability to learn.

The problem can be twofold.  In the study, kids who had dental problems were less happy, and their parents reported issues with shyness, difficulty making friends and feelings of worthlessness.  Not surprisingly, the greatest impact was for adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17 years.

The second problem pointed to a connection between poor dental health and poor general health and nutrition.  Children in this group were more likely to miss school, causing them to fall behind. Often, pain from dental issues was the reason cited for missing class.

According to the PEW Charitable Trust, Dental Care represents the single greatest unmet need in providing health services for children.  A full 80% of childhood dental disease is concentrated in 25% of children, most from income challenged households.

What can you do for your child to increase his chances for success in school?

  • Take your child to the dentist by his first birthday
  • Learn the proper techniques for cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums
  • Help your child develop healthy eating habits, particularly between-meal snacks
  • Your child will need guidance when learning to brush and floss.  Start early, and continue to assist and supervise your child as he grows
  • Regular visits to his Pediatric Dentist will help prevent cavities in your child’s teeth and reinforce your training at home
  • Foster good oral health and nutritional habits by example
  • When you have questions, ask your child’s Pediatric Dentist for help

For more information, please visit our website.  We have educational information just for Parents, to help partner with you in giving your child the best possible start in school and in life.  Our Just For Kids pages offer printable, fun and colorful charts with instructions to make teaching your child to brush and floss a great experience! Because your child’s dental health can affect his ability to learn, it’s important to start as early as possible to create healthy habits.

Visit the Journal of Pediatrics and read their abstract here.




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