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In getting ready for a new school year, most parents end up with a long back-to-school list. Well, a back to school dental checkup can be just as important as buying school supplies or scheduling school activities. Here’s why:

1. DENTAL PROBLEMS ARE THE NUMBER ONE REASON KIDS MISS SCHOOL Did you know that more than 5 million school hours are lost annually in Canada because of illnesses related to dental problems? Data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported: • 41% of children aged 2 to 11 years had cavities in their primary teeth • 42% of those aged 6 to 19 years had cavities in their permanent teeth.

2. YOUR DENTIST CAN CATCH PROBLEMS EARLY When you get a cleaning scheduled with your dental office, as part of the visit, your dentist will do an exam to check your child’s teeth for any issues. If you catch problems early, it may prevent your child from missing school because of a toothache. Early detection also almost always means less costly treatments.

3. A VISIT TO THE DENTIST CAN HELP YOUR CHILD WITH HOME CARE Remember that tooth decay is preventable. But children, especially younger ones need instruction on proper brushing and flossing. Your hygienist can use tools in the office to show how to make sure your child is reaching his/her back teeth and behind the front teeth, areas that can be susceptible to decay.

4. START SCHOOL WITH A PROPERLY FITTED SPORTS MOUTH GUARD Dental injuries are some of the most common sports injuries for kids, teens and college students. You can buy sports mouth guards at sporting goods stores or drug stores, but these are not custom fitted. Your dentist can provide a sports mouth guard that is designed specifically for your child’s mouth, and it will provide superior protection.

5. ORAL HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN AFFECT YOUR CHILD’S OVERALL HEALTH When untreated, childhood tooth decay can have consequences beyond what is seen in the dental chair. Extensive decay can lead to malnourishment and bacterial infections. Pain and infection from problem teeth can lead to problems with eating, speaking and concentrating in class.

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