Poor dental health among children has been linked to diabetes, childhood obesity and other chronic ailments. It has also been connected to poor performance in school, as dental pain is distracting and makes it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork.
Studies have also linked dental disease in children with a greater difficulty developing healthy social relationships and less success in later life.
Children from low- or moderate-income families are most likely to miss school due to problems with dental health, especially those without dental insurance or other ways to make access to dental care affordable.
To counter this, the Massachusetts Dental Society has called for mandatory dental checkups for children entering kindergarten as a way to improve overall health, broaden the understanding of the dental care needs of the state and improve dental health by catching potential problems early.
"The entry level of oral health and overall health would improve across the state," David S. Samuels, the society's president, told The Springfield Republican, adding that there are significant cost benefits to preventive care.
"You can get a problem fixed for $100 in a dentist office; it costs you $1,000 just to say hello in an emergency room," he said.
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