Kids with poor oral hygiene or those that suffer from mouth diseases are more prone to education difficulties, researchers at the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California wrote in an article forthcoming in the medical industry publication American Journal of Public Health.
The study followed 1,500 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, in both elementary and high school education programs, and compared their medical records to attendance and performance statistics. Additionally, they utilized research previously conducted in the same group that showed 73 percent of at-risk kids in the population exhibited symptoms of tooth decay.
Results from the program demonstrated that participants with oral issues were approximately four times as likely to have a lower-than-average grade point average than peers with relatively clean mouths. Similarly, dental problems cost students between two days and a week of education time per year, enough time to significantly set them back in terms of curriculum exposure.
Roseann Mulligan, a co-author of the paper and an official at the Ostrow School, said that oral disease can impact both student performance and the parental ability to work efficiently, as more time is spent nursing or caring for problems that crop up.
"Our data indicates that for disadvantaged children there is an impact on students' academic performance due to dental problems," she said in a statement published by the school. "We recommend that oral health programs must be more integrated into other health, educational and social programs, especially those that are school-based."
This information compounds the idea that kids and adolescents must have rigorous oral care habits that promote strong teeth and gums. Parents that wish to teach their kids about the importance of dental hygiene should contact their family dentistry practitioner today.