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Dental health is an important factor in a child's overall health and one that is too often neglected in the U.S. The Surgeon General called dental disease a "silent epidemic" and it is five times more common than asthma in children.
The effects of poor dental health in children can be strong. It has been linked to diabetes, childhood obesity and other chronic ailments. Poor performance in school, as dental pain distracts students from their studies, has also been blamed on a lack of proper dental care.
One way to combat this problem is to educate children about proper dental care and to encourage them to get regular dental checkups from their dentists.
A tool some organizations use is the tooth fairy herself. At the Madison County Fair in Ohio, the tooth fairy appeared in the form of dentist-to-be Paige Stover, who taught children about proper dental care and rewarded them with toothbrushes.
Children without dental insurance or other access to affordable dental care are the most likely to miss school due to problems with dental health, according to government reports.
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