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Children in Washington state are missing school due to dental pain
Updated: 1/31/2013 8:44:59 PM

Children in Washington state are missing school due to dental pain

It's extremely important for parents to take care of the health of their children's teeth, otherwise there may be serious consequences. The American Dental Association states that baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth. These early teeth help children learn how to chew and speak properly, and they act as placeholders for the ones that will come in adulthood. Furthermore, childhood tooth decay can cause children to experience pain that may prevent them from living their day-to-day lives. 

For example, King 5 News, a Seattle, Washington, news source, recently reported that dental problems are impacting attendance and grades in Pierce County schools. This isn't surprising, considering that past studies have shown that kids often miss school due to dental pain. 

Tooth decay leads to problems in school
The news source spoke to Tim Enfield, principal at Tacoma's Christensen Elementary, who explained that the school averages about 30 absences a day. While many of these can be attributed to the flu, others are related to the students' dental health. Furthermore, parents and school officials are often at a loss for how to deal with dental pain in students, especially when a dentist is not available. 

"It's challenging for parents. There's not a lot you can do. You can't just let it go away, you've got to get help and when help is hard to find or hard to go to, [students] don't get healthier. We do an ice pack, let them lie down and hopefully it calms down. But often times, it's a call to parents and they're missing instruction," Enfield told King 5 News. 

The news source also spoke to Gini Gobeske, a county public health consultant, who explained that oral health providers need to talk to connect with children to teach them and their parents proper dental health habits. 

All too often, people will bring their children to the emergency room when they are experiencing severe dental pain. Unfortunately, there is nothing the doctors can do at the ER to relieve this pain for the long term - all they can do is offer pain relievers. The only way to relieve dental pain permanently is to visit a dentist, which is why parents need to make sure they take their children to a dental health professional at least twice a year and whenever they complain of dental pain. 

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