Doing well in school sets your child up for success later in life. Obviously, as a parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure that your child gets good grades and is able to keep up with their studies. There are obvious variables to watch out for (like making sure your little one doesn’t stay up too late on a school night), but you may be unaware that oral health can also play a role. Taking care of your child’s teeth and gums can ultimately make it easier for them to succeed academically, and a children’s dentist can help you understand why.
What is the Link Between Dental Health and School Performance?
A study published in 2012 looked at data concerning more than 40,000 children in the United States. The results indicated that dental problems had a strong tendency to be associated with poorer performance at school. This largely has to do with the fact that children with oral health issues such as cavities or gum disease need to be pulled out of school more often. The more school that your child misses, the harder it’ll be for them to keep up with their classes and complete all their homework. It’s estimated by the Office of the Surgeon General that more than 51 million school hours are lost every year because of dental-related conditions. If you don’t want your little one to fall behind in their studies, then it’s best to make sure that they avoid serious oral health issues altogether.
How Can You Help Your Child Protect Their Smile?
To keep your child in school and away from the dentist’s office (aside from routine checkups and cleanings), you should follow these simple steps:
- Make sure that they are maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. That means brushing their teeth every morning and every evening. No matter what time of year it is, you should encourage your child to brush at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit.
- To encourage your child to brush, you can get them a toothbrush with one of their favorite characters. Some toothbrushes also light up or play music.
- Teach your child the best oral hygiene techniques by showing them how you brush and floss your own teeth.
- When you pack their school lunches, try to avoid sugary snacks and drinks. The sugars in these foods will sit on the teeth for the rest of the day, potentially contributing to decay.
If you have concerns about your child’s oral health, it’s best to schedule an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible; addressing the issue now can prevent bigger complications that might require more extensive treatments. Keep your child’s teeth safe so that they can focus on their classes!
About the Author
Dr. Michelle Ng is the in-house pediatric dentist at LIC Dental Associates. She completed her pediatric specialty training at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. She believes that every child is unique, which why she’ll spend your child’s first appointment getting to know them better so that they feel like they’re getting the attention and care that they need. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Michelle at our Long Island City practice, visit our website or call (718) 530-6539.