This past school year was a painful one for many U.S. students, according to a new Delta Dental survey. The survey finds 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.
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
Some attention to the issue over the summer can help avoid oral health problems. Try these 6 tips:
- 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 early enough before school starts to learn about current or looming issues that could pose a problem.