Every year kids miss valuable school days due to dental problems. They end up spending time in the dentist’s chair rather than at their desk. The oral health of children is critical for their overall health and well-being. When it isn’t properly cared for, poor oral health can impact important parts of a child’s development.
Dental problems and daily life
When anyone, adult or child, feels pain or discomfort in the mouth, it impacts their ability to function. They experience:
- Decreased ability to concentrate due to pain.
- Decreased self-confidence from an unhealthy smile.
- Lower attendance rate because of dental appointments.
- Decrease in performance, whether that’s lower grades or abilities at work.
- Change in ability to speak correctly.
The oral health of children in school
Dental problems can lead to children missing partial lessons or entire days of school. 30% of children ages 6–12 miss school every year due to dental problems. This refers to treatment beyond regular preventive care like bi-annual dental appointments. Children in the US missed more than 9 million school days in 2016 due to dental issues—that’s an alarming number!
The dental health of children is vital to their development. Parents admit that it’s harder to get their kids to brush and floss than it is to have them do their homework or make their bed. Starting good oral health habits when they’re young will lead to a healthier smile throughout your child’s life.
Here are some tips to encourage your school-aged children to develop good oral health habits:
- Use your child’s favorite song or short video clip as a timer. Make sure it’s at least 2 minutes long.
- Stick to an oral health routine, even when on vacation or after a long day.
- Be a good role model by brushing and flossing your teeth in front of your children whenever possible.
- Reward good oral health behavior by adding it to a reward chart or simply giving an energetic high-five.
- Read books that encourage good oral health.
- Let your child pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste.
*Updated August 2022