A study conducted last spring by the Center for Disease Control indicates a sharp rise in tooth decay among children, especially those without access to regular dental care. Though many people may not consider cavities a disease, it remains the number one chronic disease among children in America. New research now suggests that the phenomena of tooth decay may be associated with poor academic performance among the same dynamic. Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke discusses the possible connection between poor oral health and poor school grades.

The Impact of Childhood Tooth Decay

According to an Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study, school children in Los Angeles who reported having tooth pain were four times more likely to be below the median grade-point average of 2.8, compared to children without oral discomfort. The connection goes beyond grades, however. Children in elementary through high school missed an average 2-3 days of school a year. Consequently, parents missed nearly the same average of days to care for children with dental problems. The accessibility of dental care seems to be a defining factor in the statistics. Lack of insurance and/or transportation can create a barrier between children and proper oral health care, which can negatively affect their academic performance and attendance.

Protecting Your Child from Tooth Decay

Dr. Locke recommends that children over the age of four visit our office every six months for a comprehensive checkup and cleaning. During an oral examination, Dr. Locke can detect early signs of cavities before they can cause significant damage and discomfort. You should encourage your child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day, and discourage them from eating sugary snacks in between meals or drinking sugary drinks such as juice and soda. By teaching your children to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, you can help prepare them to enjoy a bright and healthy smile for life.

To learn more about protecting your child’s oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Locke by calling our Waco dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.