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Poor Oral Health Affects School Grades

When we are kids, everything really matters to us. They way we look, the way we speak, our eating habits, our lifestyle, choices – everything has a huge impact on our life, our viewpoints, our understanding of this world and our health. Certainly, dental care routines and oral health of children also have a considerable impact on their life and health. Kids with bad teeth are more laughed at by their peers, they receive less attention and less praise from the people around them (generally speaking, of course). Poor Oral HealthAccording to the findings of a recent study, poor oral health, problematic teeth and dental diseases are closely linked to lower academic success and poorer school grades. Those are the conclusions of an expert team at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California.

During the study, American expert team has collected and analyzed tons of information on over 1,500 elementary and high school kids (located mainly in the Los Angeles Unified School District), most of who were somehow in a social or economic disadvantage. A great deal of related factors were looked closely at and analyzed, until the scientists noticed certain tendencies. It turned out that poor oral health of most of the kids has been usually linked to poorer academic performance, bad attendance records, and other negative factors. After summarizing the findings of the work, it turned out that about 73 per cent of kids in Los Angeles area with low academic success and poor performance in school suffer from moderate or serious dental problems, including cavities.

It is also reported that those kids who suffer from tooth aches and poor oral health are four times more likely to receive poor school grades, compared to the kids who do not have such problems. According to Roseann Mulligan, one of the study leaders and the director of the school’s Division of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry, poor oral health is not only linked to poor grades, but also to poorer attendance and even more missed work by the parents of such disadvantaged children. ‘On average, elementary children missed a total of 6 days per year, and high school children missed 2.6 days. 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,’ Mulligan commented on the findings of her colleagues.

Finally, a part of the study was dedicated to finding links between missing schools by kids and missing work by their parents due to poor oral health. It turned out that this factors causes about 11 per cent of total school missed time for those kids who had poor oral health or unavailable dental services (due to the reasons like no transportation, no health insurance, and so on). At that, those kids who had dental services available have shown only 4 per cent missed school time due to dental issues. Those are the negative educational effects of poor oral health, which are going to be reported shortly in one of the issues of the American Journal of Public Health.

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