School is back in session. It’s the perfect time for a fresh start with a healthy, bright smile. Unfortunately, that is not the case for some. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay, also known as cavities, is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States and the leading cause of missed school among children.
Left untreated, cavities can not only have a significant impact on your child’s overall health, but their grades and learning as well, according to Jeffrey Johnson, D.M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
“Pain and suffering associated with unmet dental needs can lead to problems with learning, eating and social development. You could have pain, you could have an infection, you may be out of school, but, even if you’re in school, you’re not able to concentrate. All of those things combined take away from the learning experience,” said Johnson, who has more than 20 years of experience in pediatric dentistry.
Johnson spoke with VCU Health News about the impact of dental cavities and what parents can do to help their kids develop good oral health habits.