Back to school time brings thoughts of new school supplies, backpacks, clothing, doctor’s visits and immunizations. It’s also time for a dental exam and preventive care. The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents to schedule a dental examination before the school year starts. A visit to the dentist now can help assure that your child’s education won’t be interrupted by dental problems.  

Many Arizona kids don’t visit a dentist and suffer from pain and infection due to cavities. According to the most recent Oral Health Survey of Arizona Children, more than half of children have at least one cavity or filling. Cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood and can be prevented easily with routine dental visits and adequate preventive care in the form of fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Ask your dentist about the best preventive care available for your child.  Several programs have sliding fees for families who can’t afford a regular dentist. 

Another thing to consider is helping your kids establish an oral hygiene routine. Once there’s a stable daily schedule, parents can remind their child to brush and floss before school and in the evenings at bedtime.  If parents can get them to eat healthy lunches and snacks (e.g., whole grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit) and cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks, it’ll be even better for their child’s oral health. Parents can also find information about oral health programs in schools inside our Oral Health website.