The present cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the impact of poor oral health status on school performance of 600 primary and nursery school children of Bengaluru city, India. The data were collected using the methods and standards recommended by the WHO for oral health surveys. Oral health status was assessed using the df-t index (number of decayed and filled teeth). Academic performance was assessed based on the marks obtained. The children were divided into three groups: Excellent, average, below average (as given by the school teachers). Comparison between categorical variables was performed using one-way ANOVA using the SPSS software package (version 12.0). The mean df-t of the excellent group was 1.56 ± 2.5, for average group it was 2.05 ± 2.8 and for the below average group it was 4.47 ± 2.7. The below average group showed high caries index compared to other groups. The relation between school performance and mean df-t was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.001). The findings of this study demonstrate the impact that poor oral health has, on lowering school performance in children. It can be safely concluded that improvement of children's oral health may be a vehicle to improve their educational experience.
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