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News Release: 7% of SD Kids Missed School Because of Teeth or Mouth Problems; Back to School Dentist Visits Encouraged

For immediate release: Thursday, August 13, 2015
For more information: Mike Mueller,, 605-224-7345

7% of SD Kids Missed School Because of Teeth or Mouth Problems;
Back to School Dentist Visits Encouraged

Pierre, SD – The latest results of a S.D. Department of Health survey* found 7% of school-aged kids missed school because of problems with their teeth or mouth.

Delta Dental of South Dakota is encouraging parents to schedule a dentist appointment for their kids as part of their back to school preparations to help avoid those missed school days.

“Nearly 100% of cavities are preventable,” said Dr. Dale Gibson, DDS, chairman of the Delta Dental of South Dakota board of directors.  “Good brushing habits and regular checkups at the dentist can avoid a lot of pain for kids.  And it can help make sure they don’t miss school because of a toothache and waiting to see a dentist when it’s urgent.”

The Department of Health’s survey about health behaviors includes children’s oral health questions every odd-numbered year.  The recently released results for the 2013 survey also showed the percent of kids missing school for tooth or mouth problems increased from 5% in 2011.

“Having a painful cavity can impact eating and good nutrition, and attention and learning, which are important for growing kids,” Gibson said.

Simple tips can help keep teeth healthy for everyone in the family:
- Brush teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste;
- Floss once a day;
- Limit sugary drinks like fruit juice, soda, and energy drinks. Drink water instead; and
- Visit the dentist for regular checkups.

“Prevention can make a big difference, and it will cost less than getting a cavity filled while missing school,” Gibson said.

Children’s oral health tips, games, and publications are available at Delta Dental of South Dakota’s website at under the “Wellness” menu tab.

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* South Dakota Department of Health. The Health Behaviors of South Dakotans 2013, A Report of the South Dakota Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. July 2015


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