Oral health and school performance in elementary students: A cross-sectional ‎study in a group of Iranian students, Tehran, Iran

Document Type: Original Article(s)


1 Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, ‎Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics Dentistry, School of Dentistry, International Campus, Tehran University of ‎Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Private Practice, International Campus, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Epidemiologist, Dental Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Dental health plays a key role in the overall health status and quality of life in children. Consequences of dental diseases in children may result in impairments of daily life activities. The aim of this study was to assess the relationships between dental health and educational performances in elementary students. METHODS: A total of 300 elementary students from the second to fifth grades in ninth district of Tehran, Iran, were included in this study according to inclusion criteria. Questionnaire gathering information about the students’ demographic background, medical and dental histories was sent to their parents. The students’ academic performances were assessed based on the school absence in relation to dental problems, their school grades and doing homework. Oral health status was assessed based on the World Health Organization (WHO) standards using caries and oral hygiene indices. Data were analyzed by the Pearson’s correlation and linear regression analysis. All statistical levels were made at 0.05 for the Pearson’s correlation and 0.1 for linear regression analysis. RESULTS: School test grades and school absences due to dental problems were statistically associated with oral hygiene index (OHI) of the students (P = 0.010 and P = 0.040, respectively). The indices of dental caries in primary or permanent teeth were not significantly associated with school performances (P ≥ 0.140). The analysis revealed that the factors i.e., housing status and living with the parents are statistically associated with the oral health indices (P = 0.050 and P =0.080; respectively) and on the other hand with school performances (P = 0.020 and P = 0.010; respectively). CONCLUSION: Children with poorer oral health status were more likely to perform poorly in school. Socio-economic status of the students affects negatively both school performances and oral health care. Also, oral health status and dental problems may cause deterioration in educational conditions.