Research continues to demonstrate the strong link between children’s oral health and how they perform in school. In 2015, Delta Dental released findings survey that more than 30% of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 had to miss school due to an oral health problem. Then in 2019, the Journal of Pediatrics revisited the study, again finding “significant associations across all the evaluated academic outcomes and oral health measures,” including problems at school and missed school days. Additionally, they found they kids without insurance were less likely to receive preventive dental care.
School Absence Breakdown
How much school was missed?
- 18% of parents reported their children missed at least a half a day of school
- 4% said their children missed one day
- 4% reported children missing 2 days
- 6% said their children had to miss 3 or more days
Top Absences by Region
- Northeast (36%)
- South (33%)
- Midwest and West (28%)
Top Absences by Parent(s) Age:
- Parents aged 35-44 (35%)
- Parents 18-34 (34%)
- Parents 45 and older (19%)
The Good News
Cavities and tooth decay are 100 percent preventable! That’s right, you have control you’re your oral health. By maintaining good daily oral health practices, we can ensure a healthy mouth and smile for a lifetime.
Incorporate these 6 steps into your routine:
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush gently for about two minutes and pay special attention to the gum line.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Limit not only sugary snacks but also high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods. These include foods like chips, pretzels, cookies, breads, and dried fruits, including raisins. The bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive on simple sugars, especially those in sticky foods and treats.
- Limit fruit juice or other sweet/sugary drinks to mealtimes. Between meals and especially at bedtime, give your child water, it keeps them hydrated and helps prevent tooth-decay if your community water is fluoridated.
- And, of course, go to the dentist to learn about current or looming issues that could pose a problem.
Looking for more on maintaining your oral health? Check out:
*Updated July 2020