Poor oral health affects children's performance at school - New study reveals

A new global study has revealed that children with poor oral oral health perform woefully at school.

Pepsodent study

The study also revealed that such children are mostly likely to suffer low self-esteem in class.

Commissioned by Pepsodent, the study sampled 4000 school children and parents across eight (8) different countries including Ghana.

Children missed 243 million days at school last year because of oral pain and it indicates that the quality of a child’s oral care has repercussions beyond just health; it limits a child’s potential, the study said.


The report, which was published ahead of World Oral Health Day, also showed that while both parents and children claim that toothbrushing is their most important daily routine, in reality some parents “reward” their children by allowing them to skip nightly brushing, with measurable and dramatic consequences for oral health and performance at school.

In Ghana specifically, 3 in 10 (29%) children have missed school due to oral pain in the last year – equivalent to 3 million children.

Commenting on Pepsodent's effort in the study, Patience Oforiwa Mpereh, Oralcare Category Manager, said Unilever’s brands have been working on prevention through free dental check-ups and school programmes for 25 years.

“So far, they have protected 80 million smiles globally. On top of the all year long work, on World Oral Health Day, we reinforce these messages with events at schools in a number of markets. With this report, Unilever hopes to help evolve the conversation around oral care education around the world to inspire changes today that foster more opportunities for tomorrow,” Mpereh added.


Also 37% of children who experienced oral pain in the last 12 months have not taken part in an activity at school because of their teeth (compared to 19% of those with no oral pain).

Tooth decay is the world’s most widespread disease according to the World Health Organization; the study shows that the majority of children across the globe have experienced oral pain in the past year.


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