Survey: 30% of kids miss school due to dental problems

More than 30% of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 missed school due to dental problems during the past year, according to a new Delta Dental survey.

The survey findings include the following:

  • 18% of parents reported their children missed at least a half a day of school, 4% said their children missed one day, 4% reported children missing two days, and 6% said their children had to miss three or more days.
  • Schoolchildren in the Northeast reported the most absences because of dental problems, with 36% of parents reporting their 6- to 12-year-olds missed school, followed by the South (33%), the Midwest (28%), and the West (28%).
  • Parents ages 35 to 44 reported the most amount of school missed by their children (35%), followed by parents ages 18 to 34 (34%), while parents 45 and older reported the least amount of school missed (19%).

Delta Dental also offered the following tips to help avoid oral health problems and help parents improve their kids' oral health during the summer before school starts.

  • Brush all surfaces of the teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush gently for about two minutes, paying special attention to the gum line.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Limit sugary snacks and also high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods, such as chips, pretzels, cookies, breads, and dried fruits, including raisins. The bacteria that cause caries thrives on simple sugars, especially those in sticky foods and treats.
  • Limit fruit juice or other sweet/sugary drinks to mealtimes. Between meals and especially at bedtime, give children water to help them stay hydrated. This can also help prevent caries if your community water is fluoridated, according to Delta Dental.
  • Go to the dentist before school starts to learn about current or looming issues that could pose problems.
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