It’s Fall and families are knee-deep in back-to-school mode. So as your pediatric dentist and orthodontists in Missouri City, Drs. Parker, Shadow, and Sosa think it’s the perfect time to talk about the connection between oral health and academic performance. Yes! It’s true — ensuring your kids have healthy, cavity-free teeth goes a long way in keeping up those grades and maintaining that enthusiasm for school. On the flip side, poor oral health can contribute to academic problems.
So how exactly does good oral health in kids help them at school? Here, the team at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics covers six ways that oral health and academic performance go hand in hand.
Imagine trying to focus on a math problem or listen to the teacher when you have a throbbing toothache. Not easy, right? Cavities in kids that lead to toothaches, gum infections, and other oral discomforts can make concentrating in class a real challenge.
More Time Away from School and Frequent Sick Days
One not-so-fun fact? Cavities and tooth decay in children are the number one childhood health problem in America, occurring five times more than the next common illness in kids — asthma. But how does poor oral health in kids affect their academics? Well, kids with frequent and serious oral health issues are more likely to have a higher level of school absenteeism and missed instruction.
One study found that kids with poor oral health were three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain. Another study concluded that kids who don’t have healthy teeth lose more hours of school because of acute or unplanned dental care appointments — like treatment for cavities.
It’s fair to say that a child that can confidently and clearly speak up in class will have a leg up in school. In contrast, dental problems like misaligned teeth or tooth decay in children that has led to painful or missing teeth can result in speech difficulties that hinder a child from expressing themselves effectively. In turn, this can impact their participation at school, their relationship with their teacher, or cause frustration with learning.
Children with dental issues may feel self-conscious about their smiles. This can lead to lower self-esteem, social anxiety, even bullying. Kids who feel embarrassed about their teeth might participate less or shy away from contributing in class, a definite example of the oral health and academic performance connection.
Just like in adults, toothaches and oral discomfort in kids can disrupt their sleep patterns. And when kids don’t get enough rest, they can be groggy and less attentive at school. Poor sleep quality can also affect the memory, making it harder to retain the information they’re learning. Simply put, adequate sleep for kids is essential for optimal brain development.
It’s no surprise that oral health is closely linked to nutrition. Eating healthy ensures that your kid gets the vitamins and minerals for growing strong teeth and healthy gums.
Good nutrition is essential for your child’s overall daily success at school since healthy food helps keep up your kid’s energy levels and feeds their brains. On the other hand, kids with less-than-healthy diets may struggle with staying active, alert, and engaged at school.
Ensuring Your Kids Have Healthy Teeth… for School Success!
At The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we’re all about helping your kids get excited about a lifelong journey with good oral health. A major step in making sure your kids have healthy teeth? Visiting us twice a year for super A+ cleanings and cavity prevention, plus having lots of fun in our laid-back, kid-friendly environment.
Contact your board-certified pediatric dentists for kids in Missouri City, TX for high quality, innovative dental care — where the whole family leaves with big smiles!