According to a recent study from USC's Ostrow School of Dentistry, — also informally known as the Ostrow School for Aspiring Sadists — kids whose mouths are riddled with cavities do significantly worse in school than their cavity-free peers, which might have something to do with the fact that only nerds floss. Children in the Los Angeles School District who were experiencing tooth pain were four times more likely to have a GPA that fell below the 2.8 median.
The current study focused on 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Researchers had previously figured out that some 73 percent of disadvantaged children in Los Angeles have dental problems, a figure that, when coupled with a New York Times report that claimed more preschoolers are turning up in dentists' offices with multiple cavities, points to an alarming trend among people who don't necessarily have regular access to dentists or information about maintaining proper dental hygiene.
The study also found that tooth trouble leads to more sick days, with elementary school students suffering from toothaches missing an average of six more days annually, and high school students missing about 2.6 more days. About 11 percent of students lacking accessible dental care missed school because of toothaches, compared with only four percent who had access to a dentist. Since having a toothache is one of the most distracting ailments ever, it makes sense that kids who can't see a dentist regularly and have the the X-Ray shard jammed into their mouths for a few minutes while a dental hygienist makes infuriating attempts at small talk are more likely to fall behind in school, because trigonometry becomes suddenly even more trivial when it feels like someone is stabbing your gums with dry ice.
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