You’ve bought the books, paper and pencils. Your child has new clothes and a backpack. She’s ready for school. Or is she? What about an appointment to see the dentist?
Tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other infectious disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 19 percent of children ages 2-19 have untreated cavities, which can lead to pain, trouble learning and poor performance in school.
According to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children who said they had tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average, when compared to children without oral pain. In the study, the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California found that 73% of disadvantaged kids had untreated dental decay. The students who complained of pain had grades below the median GPA of 2.8. These kids’ dental problems caused them to be absent more often from school and their parents to miss work to care for them.
So take time to make sure your child’s smile is ready for school too. Have your child brush her teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Limit sweets and sugary sodas. And make sure they see the dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and sealants.