A Healthy Mouth Equals Healthy Grades?

A new school year is underway and schedules are getting busier, but if your child hasn’t seen the dentist in a while, his GPA may be on the line. A recent study from the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry shows there is a strong connection between healthy teeth and academic success. Published in the American Journal of Public Health, “The Impact of Oral Health on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Children” surveyed nearly 1500 elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles USD. Based on a previous study, which documented dental caries in nearly 73 percent of socioeconomically disadvantaged children in the district, the new study sought to further explore the connection between dental health and school performance.

Tooth Pain and GPA’s

The study compared students with and without oral pain, and found that those suffering from discomfort were four times as likely to have a GPA below the median of 2.8. Of even greater concern is the large number of absences caused by dental problems. Elementary school children in the study missed an average of 6 school days a year, while those in high school missed 2.6. Dental problems accounted for 35 percent of those elementary school absences, and a significant 88 percent of high school absences. Children weren’t the only ones affected by poor dental health; parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work during the year to care for children with dental issues.

Accessing Dental Care

Children in need of dental care often face barriers such as complications with insurance and transportation, or simply a fear of visiting the dentist. Access to care played a significant role in determining the number of absences children in the study accrued. Eleven percent of those deemed to have limited access missed school because of their oral health, while only 4 percent of those with better access stayed home. Don’t let fears or financial worries discourage you from scheduling an appointment with your Rochester dentist today. Your initial visit is free and we welcome you to meet with our staff and discuss your questions and concerns.

Schedule your Appointment Today

We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and the surrounding communities. We believe in forming strong relationships with our youngest patients, and encourage you to bring in your child for a free “Happy Visit” today. Call our Rochester dentist office at (507) 281-3659 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gilly Calcagno.