When it comes to kids missing school, kids ditching and playing hooky isn’t the biggest concern. Their oral health is.
Here are some statistics that might make your teeth ache:
- kids are three times more likely to miss school due to dental problems. This should come as no surprise when you learn that dental caries (the disease that causes cavities) is the most common chronic disease of children.
- by the time kids reach third grade, more than 50% have had cavities.¹
- childhood tooth decay is four times more common than early childhood obesity, five times more common than asthma, and 20 times more common than diabetes.²
- children miss more than 9 million days of school due to an oral health problem as opposed to a regularly scheduled dental appointment.³ Be it cavity pain, toothaches or emergency visits — kids miss out on valuable education due to their unhappy mouths.
Toothaches or dental pain also lead to other troubles, like difficulty eating and sleeping, which are likely to impair children’s physical development and academic achievement. Mouth health quickly becomes whole-body health, as the mouth is the gateway to the body after all.
"For kids, oral health issues can mean a lot more than just a cavity. They can distract from schoolwork and lead to less time in the classroom, leaving kids with more ground to make up in their studies," said Bill Kohn, DDS, vice president of dental science and policy at Delta Dental Plans Association. And he’s not wrong. Wouldn’t you find it difficult to sit still and listen while in pain?
The good news is that the sooner we educate kids about the importance of oral health (and make it fun for them), the more we prepare them to go into the world as successful, thriving individuals.
Here are three easy things you can do to help make more successful kids and make sure they’re saying “here” at roll call:
- See a Dentist. Schedule an appointment for you and your child every six months to ensure all dental concerns are identified and addressed by a professional.
- Limit Sugar Intake. Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth that can lead to cavities. Watch your child’s intake of sodas, sports drinks, and sweet treats this school year to lower their risk.
- Use the Right Products. Brushing and flossing twice a day is a given, but you can also implement a prebiotic mouthwash twice a day and a pH-balancing mouthspray between meals to keep cavity-causing bacteria in check. You also want to make sure kids use the right toothpaste for their needs. If they’re at higher risk for cavities due to genetic predispositions or diet, consider fluoride. If children are lower risk, consider a hydroxyapatite toothpaste. Build your Super Smile Profile to discover which products are right for your child based on their age, oral stage, and needs.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Chronic Diseases in America”(2021). https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm
- Hoss, K. (2022). If Your Mouth Could Talk. BenBella Books.
- Delta Dental. (2016, August 18). Survey finds 30% of U.S. kids ages 6 to 12 miss more than 9 million school days due to oral health problems.Com. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.deltadental.com/us/en/about-us/press-center/2016/newsreleasekidsmissmoreschooldays201608.html