By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Tens of thousands of toothbrushes were set to be delivered to families within the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday in an effort to promote the importance of good oral health habits.

“Poor oral health is the number one cause of school absenteeism — and it’s entirely preventable,” said Maryjane Puffer, executive director of the Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health.

Screenings of nearly 3,400 elementary school students across Los Angeles found that 66% of children currently had dental disease, 27% had visible tooth decay and 6% required emergency care.

The L.A. Trust will work to get the attention of the community by informing the public about the best practices of proper oral health, along with delivering 58,000 toothbrushes and offering full or partial oral health services in the community.

Poor oral health can also lead to a variety of short and long-term health issues if not treated, health experts say.

“Oral disease also is associated with risk behaviors such as using tobacco and consuming sugary foods and beverages,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

L.A. Trust will release three oral health videos through social media this month in partnership with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, LAUSD, and other community groups and organizations.

Seven wellness centers and school-based health clinics — at several schools and wellness centers — are providing oral health services for students and community members, LAUSD officials said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)