A study on 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District found a link between kids whose mouths are riddled with cavities and their performance in school.
The study which was conducted by researchers at USC's Ostrow School of
Dentistry found that kids who were experiencing tooth pain were four
times more likely to have a GPA that fell below the 2.8 median. Tooth trouble leads to more sick days, with elementary school students
suffering from toothaches missing an average of six more days annually,
and high school students missing about 2.6 more days. About 11 percent
of students lacking accessible dental care missed school because of
toothaches, compared with only four percent who had access to a dentist.
The researchers had previously figured out that some 73% of disadvantaged children in Los Angeles have dental problems. Add that to a recent New York Times report that claimed more preschoolers are turning up in dentists' offices with multiple cavities, and it points to an alarming trend among people who don't necessarily have regular access to dentists or information about maintaining proper dental hygiene.
Sounds we all need to pay a little closer attention to our kids' well-being, starting with their teeth.