Tags: oral | health | kids | school

Dental Health Linked to Lower Grades

Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:50 PM

Poor oral hygiene, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school, causing more missed school days and lower grades, according to new research out of the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, examined nearly 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District, matching their oral health status to their academic achievement and attendance records.
The researchers found children who reported having recent tooth pain or dental health problems were four times more likely to have a low grade point average – below the median GPA of 2.8 – compared to children without oral pain.
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"Our data indicates that for disadvantaged children there is an impact on students' academic performance due to dental problems,” said researcher Roseann Mulligan, chair of the school's Division of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry.
“We recommend that oral health programs must be more integrated into other health, educational and social programs, especially those that are school-based. Furthermore, widespread population studies are needed to demonstrate the enormous personal, societal and financial burdens that this epidemic of oral disease is causing on a national level."
Ostrow and colleagues had previously found 73 percent of disadvantaged kids in Los Angeles have dental cavities. The new study linked oral health and performance in school, more absences from school for kids and more missed work for parents.
"On average, elementary children missed a total of 6 days per year, and high school children missed 2.6 days,” she said. “For elementary students, 2.1 days of missed school were due to dental problems, and high school students missed 2.3 days due to dental issues.
“That shows oral health problems are a very significant factor in school absences. Also, parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems."
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Poor oral health puts kids at a disadvantage in school, causing missed school days and lower grades.
Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:50 PM
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