You often hear us talk about the importance of a healthy smile, but what does dental health neglect really look like for children? The truth is, the health of your child’s teeth and gums affects many different physical and psychological aspects of their life.
Dental problems cause a lot of pain and strife not just for kids, but for parents as well. Roughly 39% of parents in United States reported missing work due to their child’s oral health issues. This does not account for scheduled pediatric dentist appointments. Scheduling far enough in advance (preferably during your child’s appointment!) gives most working parents adequate time to coordinate with their work schedules.
There is a direct correlation between poor oral health and academic performance. Children who lack proper dental care suffer more in school than their peers that receive pediatric dental care.
Here are a few startling facts about poor oral health and school performance.
- North Carolina children with poor oral health were approximately 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
- Absences caused by dental pain were associated with poorer school performance and lower grade point averages.
- More than 30% of parents reported their children between ages 6-12 missed school due to an oral health problem.
Adolescent years can be especially tough if your child hasn’t already established a healthy oral care routine. If they have managed to make it through without cavities, they won’t understand the consequence of neglecting to brush and floss. This is another reason why it is so important to encourage a dental care routine at a young age. Children thrive on routine, even as adolescents.
Diet also plays a major part in your child’s dental health and school performance. Their brains need fuel to give them momentum throughout the school day. Limit sugary snacks and starchy foods and get your kids on board with reaching for fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt, and snacks of that nature.
Eating healthy does not have to be boring -- even during snack time! If you meal prep, consider preparing healthy snacks for your kids, too! There are many recipes that are tasty and simple to prepare ahead of time. Provide healthy snacks for your kids after school and/or extra-curricular activities in order to tide them over until dinner and give them fuel to complete homework.
Kids that grow up with a pediatric dentist have the best chance for a healthy future and academic success. Proactive pediatric dental care is less costly than reactive care -- financially and health-wise!