Oral health is something that is a huge factor in your overall health. This makes sense, because your mouth is used for so many different things like communicating, eating, and non verbal signals.
Effects of Oral Health on Children’s Overall Well Being
According to the National Institutes of Health estimates that 20%-30% of children suffer from chronic health conditions, with dental caries (AKA tooth decay or cavities) being the most prevalent. 41% percent of children between the ages of 2 and 11 had caries in their baby teeth and 42% between the ages of 6 to 19 have them in their permanent teeth.
While this fact alone can be startling, it doesn’t end there. Chronic illness, including oral problems, can lead to issues with children’s ability to do well in school. The more time that is spent going to the dentist, doctors, and other health professionals can lead to a decline in performance at school.
Previously, the research that was conducted did not include the nature of the dentist visit. In an article published in the US National Library of Medicine, an article was published that examined whether or not the time spent out of school was due to routine dental visits (cleanings and screenings) or to fix a dental problem (getting fillings and other procedures).
A study was done in North Carolina to figure out the nature of the visits, along with the effects of poor oral health on the student while they were still in school. The Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program (CHAMP) was used in order to collect data from a random sample and help with an analysis.
Parents of children were asked to answer questions about: the oral health of one of their children, their academic performance, and their current oral status. Of those in the sample, 464 (21.9%) children missed 1 or more days of school for routine dental care, and 89 children had missed 1 or more days because of dental pain or infection.
In total, 1,049 school days were missed by the 2,120 children for reasons related to dental care. In comparison, 9,166 school days were missed as a result of other illnesses or injuries. To put this into hours, it was found that 3,430,602 hours were missed due to routine dental care, and 717,895 hours were missed due to pain or infection.
This means that North Carolina school children missed more than 4,000,000 hours of school for dental related reasons.
Alt text: fight dental caries with regular dental visits
What about those that don’t miss school?
Even though the children who were just going for routine work missed more time, they did not suffer the same academically as those who went in for pain or infections. The worse the child’s oral status, the more likely they were to miss out on school. However, not everyone has the proper insurance to make the trips necessary to fix the problem.
So this may mean that some students have to go to school while dealing with the pain or their oral problems. As you can imagine, this alone would make it hard to concentrate. Symptoms can range from pain to things like swollen gums, painful chewing, dry mouth, along with symptoms relating to the tonsils and glands.
More often than not, a toothache is more than just a toothache.
It’s important to consider your child’s oral health along with their overall health in terms of their schooling. Those routine checkups could be helping to better your child’s education.
If your child does need to come in, you could schedule an after-school appointment with our office. From Tuesday to Thursdays, we are open until 7pm. We also offer emergency dental services in Charlotte after-hours. If you have any questions about your child’s health, contact Modern Family Dental Care today!