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Healthy teeth not only help children eat, speak and sleep better; they also help them to perform better in school. Studies show children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who do not.[1] To ensure students keep a healthy smile this coming school year, we encourage parents to make scheduling a dental check-up for their children a priority.

Visiting the dentist before school starts should be at the top of every family’s back-to-school checklist along with school physicals, vaccinations and school supplies. Regular dental check-ups not only allow the dentist consistent opportunities to provide prevention treatments, such as sealants and fluoride treatments, but the regularity also allows a child to begin to feel more comfortable at each visit, increasing the chances of them continuing regular dental check-ups as adolescents and adults.

California requires that all children have a comprehensive oral check-up by the time they are ready to enter public school. The “Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment” aims to help schools identify children suffering from untreated dental disease and helps parents and caregivers establish a dental home for their children. This will ensure early detection and preventive services to help children mitigate pain, difficulty eating or speaking, and school absences.  

[1] Griffin SO, Wei L, Gooch BF, Weno K, Espinoza L. Vital Signs: Dental Sealant Use and Untreated Tooth Decay Among U.S. School-Aged Children. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1141-1145

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