51 million school hours lost due to dental issues

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51 million school hours lost due to dental issues
by Helen Edelman August 24, 2016

Procter & Gamble Co. – manufacturers of Crest toothpaste – found in a study that more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental issues, that school-aged kids with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss school and that kids with toothaches have lower grade-point averages. To help, P&G is distributing hundreds of thousands of tubes of free toothpaste to schools via Feeding America and offering dental-health education via Parent Teacher Associations.
I looked for corroboration from other sources. Sure enough, the American Journal of Public Health published an article concluding, “Children with poor oral health status were nearly three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain. Absences caused by pain were associated with poorer school performance.” And, the Pew Charitable Trust reported, “Tooth decay can have far-reaching effects on a child's life. Untreated decay can cause pain and infection that may lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing and sleeping, as well as poor overall health. Dental problems also negatively affect school attendance and performance.”

Also, the Children’s Dental Health Project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, found that roughly one in seven children ages 6-12 suffer a toothache at some point and is likely to miss school due to dental pain, that dental problems were responsible for about one-third of elementary school absences and that children reporting toothaches were four times more likely to have a lower grade-point average than peers. Schedule a dental check-up for your child as part of back-to-school prep! Ask your child’s doctor for a referral to a dentist, if you don’t have one.


– Helen Susan Edelman, LiveSmart Project Director, livesmart@classroomenrichment.org; www.facebook.com/crlivesmart

Times Union - Edited and written by Helen Edelman

LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.