In just a little under a month, the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District heads back to school for the 2019-2020 school year. Summer is a great time to check in with your child’s dentist and get teeth in tip top shape for back to school.

Dental decay is actually one of the most prevalent disease of childhood. The other top contenders are asthma, diabetes and obesity. Dental caries is actually number one, which is five to eight times more common than asthma, which is second on the list.

Data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2002) indicated that 41% of children aged 2 to 11 years had dental caries in their primary teeth and 42% of those aged 6 to 19 years had caries in their permanent teeth.

Studies have been done to show that children with poor oral health miss more days of school. Chronic illness can interfere with a child’s ability to succeed in school. Evidence shows that increases in missed school time caused by chronic illnesses can lead to declines in school performance.

In a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Public Health by Johnson, et al., children in good, fair, or poor oral health were more likely to perform poorly in school. This suggests that dental disease may adversely affect children’s performance independent of school absences. Altogether, the findings suggested that improving children’s oral health status may be a vehicle to enhancing their educational experience.

It is important that children (and adults) get in to see the dentist every six months or more often if recommended by the dentist. School learning and social interaction are important parts of childhood and children missing school due to toothaches is something all parents want to avoid. Here’s to enjoying the rest of Summer with a happy, healthy smile!