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Oral Health and School Readiness and Performance

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This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about school readiness and performance. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Key Facts

  Share these facts to help improve the oral health of pregnant women, children, adolescents, and their families.

Educational Achievement

  • Children with poor oral health are more likely than those with good oral health to experience oral pain, miss school, and perform poorly in school. 1
  • It is important to prevent and treat children’s oral health problems to prevent and reduce oral pain and improve oral functioning and to improve children’s educational achievement and psychosocial development. 2
  • Children with both poor oral health and poor general health are more than twice as likely to perform poorly in school as those with both good oral health and good general health. 1

Developmental Delays

  • Developmental delays among preschool-age children from families with low incomes may be associated with increased decayed, missing, and filled surfaces on primary teeth. 3

School Attendance

  • Among children and adolescents ages 5–18, oral pain and acute asthma similarly impact school attendance. 4
  • School absences associated with oral pain or infection increase the likelihood of poor school performance, whereas absences for routine oral health care do not. 3

References

  1. Jackson SL, Vann WF, Koch JB, Pahel BT, Lee JY. 2011. Impact of poor oral health on children’s school attendance and performance. American Journal of Public Health 101(10):1900–1906.
  2. Guarnizo-Herreno CC, Wehby GL. 2012. Children’s dental health, school performance, and psychosocial well-being. Journal of Pediatrics 161(6):1153–1159.
  3. Chi DL, Rossitch KC, Beeles EM. 2013. Developmental delays and dental caries in low-income preschoolers in the USA: A pilot cross-sectional study and preliminary explanatory model. BMC Oral Health 13:53.
  4. Thikkurissy S, Glazer K, Amini H, Casamassimo P, Rashid R. 2012. The comparative morbidities of acute dental pain and acute asthma on quality of life in children. Pediatric Dentistry 3(4):e77–e80.

OHRC Publications

This section contains OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. 2011. Strategies to improve collaboration between state oral health programs and Head Start state collaboration offices. Sparks, NV: Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 4 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This tip sheet is designed to assist state oral health program (SOHP) and the Head Start state collaboration office (HSSCO) directors and staff in enhancing collaboration with one another. It discusses how the relationship between SOHPs and HSSCOs has developed to date and outcomes of collaboration. It also provides recommendations for further collaboration. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Bertness J, Holt K, eds. 2012. Oral health in Head Start: A resource guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 32 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This guide describes resources to help professionals working in states and communities in planning, developing, and implementing efforts to ensure that pregnant women, infants, and children enrolled in Head Start receive optimal oral health services. The guide is divided into three sections. The first section lists journal articles appearing in the peer-reviewed literature from January 2007 to 2011. The second section describes materials published from 2007 to 2011, including brochures, fact sheets, directories, guides, kits, papers, reports, and multimedia. The third section lists federal agencies, resource centers, and national professional associations that may serve as resources. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Holt K, Barzel R, eds. 2018. Promoting oral health in young children: A resource guide (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 24 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This resource guide provides information to health professionals to assist them in planning, developing, and implementing efforts to ensure that children receive optimal oral health care. The resource guide describes materials, including brochures, fact sheets, guides, manuals, and reports as well as federal agencies, resource centers, and national professional associations that may serve as resources. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Lowe E, Holt K. 2016. Be an oral health champion. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 4 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This booklet was developed to help Head Start and child care program staff become aware of problems young children with poor oral health may experience. Contents include ideas for promoting oral health and preventing oral disease. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2012–. Brush up on oral health. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, monthly

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This tip sheet series provides Head Start staff with information on current practice, practical tips for promoting oral health to share with parents, and recipes for healthy snacks that children can make with Head Start staff or at home with their parents. Topics include children with special health care needs, community water fluoridation, dental caries, dental home, fluoride varnish, health literacy, home visiting, injury, nutrition, pregnancy, school readiness, and tobacco.


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2014–. Healthy habits for happy smiles. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, 26 pp

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This series of handouts for pregnant women and parents of infants and young children provides simple tips on oral health issues. Topics include taking care of oral health during pregnancy, managing teething pain, taking care of infants’ oral health, brushing children’s teeth, toothbrushing positions and tips for brushing the teeth of children with special health care needs, choosing healthy drinks, giving healthy snacks, getting fluoride, preventing oral injuries, giving first aid for oral injuries, and finding and visiting a dental clinic. The series is available in English and Spanish.


Details

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. 2010. Open wide: Oral health training for health professionals. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 1 v

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This curriculum is designed to help health and early childhood professionals working in community settings (e.g., Head Start, home visiting, WIC staff) promote oral health in the course of promoting general health for infants, children, and their families. Topics include tooth decay, risk factors, and prevention; oral health risk assessment and oral health screening; and anticipatory guidance for parents. Each of the four modules includes an overview, learning objectives, key points, a post-test, and resources. A glossary and a list of presentations, print materials, and videotapes are also presented. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. 2016. Head Start oral health curricula: Choose and use [upd. ed.]. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, multiple items

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This guide provides information about oral-health-related curricula appropriate for use in Early Head Start and Head Start programs. Users can search by audience, topics, and availability to find the curriculum that best fits their needs. A matrix to view all the curricula at a glance is also available from the website. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]

     


OHRC Library

This section contains recent materials, not including OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board. 2016. Taking a bite out of school absences: Children's oral health report 2016. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, 122 pp

Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board
4000 North Central Avenue, Suite 800
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Website: http://azftf.gov
Available from the website.

This report presents survey results on the prevalence and severity of tooth decay in students in kindergarten in public schools in Arizona. Contents include information about tooth decay and the impact of poor oral health on children, families, and society, with an emphasis on the relationship between oral health and academic achievement. The survey results are presented by domain, including prevalence of decay experience, untreated decay, pain and infection, annual dental visits, and insurance coverage. Comparisons to previous statewide surveys, benchmarks and national data, and regional and county highlights are provided. The appendices contain school-readiness indicators, a screening form and parent/caregiver questionnaire, and child demographic characteristics. [Survey funded in part by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Oral Health Program. 2011. School Readiness Initiative: Connecting oral health and school readiness. Helena, MT: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, 4 pp

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Oral Health Program
111 North Sanders Street
Helena, MT 59620

Telephone: (406) 444-5622
Website: http://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/oralhealth
Available from the website.

This document describes a statewide initiative to address the physical well-being and language development domains of school readiness by providing oral health education and outreach to young children and their families residing in Montana communities. Topics include results from a community-based survey to assess parents' perceptions, attitudes, and opinions about oral health. Additional topics include how the results are being used, what parents and caregivers can do to ensure good oral health for children, tips on toothbrushing, and a list of Montana resources.


Details

West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Early Learning. [2015]. West Virginia school readiness profile 2014. [Charleston, WV]: West Virginia Department of Education, 134 pp

West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Early Learning
Building 6, Room 603 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305-0330

Telephone: (304) 558-9994
Fax: (304) 558-1834
Website: http://wvde.state.wv.us/oel
Available from the website.

This report details the types of programmatic and child outcome data available to county collaborative early childhood teams to assist them in establishing school-readiness goals. Contents include kindergarten-entry health data, including oral health data. Potential uses for the data are discussed.

     

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