Every year kids miss valuable school days due to dental problems, ending up in the dentist’s chair rather than at their desk. The dental health of children is critical for their overall health and well-being. When it isn’t properly cared for, poor dental health can impact important parts of a child’s development.
Dental problems and daily life
When anyone, adult or child, experiences pain or discomfort in the mouth, it impacts their ability to function. They experience a:
- Decreased ability to concentrate due to pain.
- Decreased self-confidence from an unhealthy smile.
- Lower attendance rate because of dental appointments.
- Decrease in their performance, whether that’s lower grades or abilities at work.
- Change in ability to speak correctly.
The dental 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 missed school due to dental problems. This refers to treatment that is past preventive care and does not include regular bi-annual dental appointments. Children from the ages 5-17 in the U.S. missed over 2,000,000 school days in 2019 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 early will lead to a healthier smile throughout your child’s life.
Here are some tips to encourage your school-aged children to partake in oral health routines:
- 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.
- 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