Back to school: Getting A's with a healthy mouth
SUMMARY: Getting good grades in school isn't just about putting in the time with your books and homework - your oral health can also play a huge part in your success.
Posted: September 4, 2013
"I had to skip class because I had a dentist appointment."
It may be one of the oldest excuses in the book, but it also may be more credible now than ever.
Why? Oral health and school success are intrinsically linked.
A recent study conducted by Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California found that children who experience oral pain during class are four times more likely to receive lower grade point averages than the children who do not.
That line may also be the reason your kids get to stay in class more frequently; if they visit the dentist on a regular basis, then there will be no need to yank them out of class for dental problems. Yet the U.S. Department of Health estimates that children miss 51 million hours of class each year because of oral health issues. Of course, good attendance is the first step to getting good grades, so taking your children to get routine dental check ups can diminish their chances of needing cavity treatments, help their teeth stay free of dental plaque may help them miss less school and stay attentive inside the classroom.
Dental health at home
Each day kids are packing their bags, you're making their lunches, and no doubt there is a lot of hustle and bustle inside the house. But it is important to keep your kids' brushing and flossing habits consistent so that they can bring home the high grades you love to see.
Encourage your child to brush every morning after breakfast and every evening after dinner. This will help keep his or her teeth clean and mouth feeling healthy. We all know those days where we miss or forget to brush and our mouth feels like something died in it. Indeed, our breath suffers, but success at school may as well.
If children attend regular check-ups, the dentist is able to detect cavities and other oral problems that can cause pain. On a routine visit, a dentist can spot symptoms and signs of more than 120 diseases. They are not as scary as your kids might have thought - they prevent them from getting the scary stuff.
Here's a list of things that will strengthen your child's teeth and prevent him or her from missing out on class because of dental problems:
•Kids brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste. Oftentimes, we let them off the hook at night when they're too tired, but get those little zombies to clean their teeth before bed. Their mouths will thank them.
•Getting your kids to floss can be tricky. Pick up a bag of floss picks for simple and easy-to-use flossing. They come in packs of around 90 and help remove food and dental plaque from the crevices of teeth, reduce tooth decay and bad breath.
•Pack a healthy lunch. Nutritious and balanced meals will leave your youngster feeling energized and ready to learn. Stay away from pretzels, chips and candy, which afterwards remain on the surface of the teeth.
•If allowed in class, chewing gum may actually be healthy. One study found that chewing gum that contains the sweetener xylitol slowed the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
•-Schedule a visit to your dentist for professional cleanings, cavity treatments and an oral exam.
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth, and can help prevent issues in the future. This improvement of a child's oral health may be the clincher between an 'A' and a 'B' final grade.