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Back to School Health: A Checklist for Kids

By Jae Curtis, adapted from an article from

Heading back to school in the fall means stocking up on all of the supplies your child will need for another great year. But while purchasing pencils and notebooks, don't forget one of the most important items on your child's back to school checklist: a dental checkup. Back to school health is a great predictor of your child's success in a new school year, as being proactive can prevent any absences caused by emergency appointments.

Kick the year off to a healthy start by making sure dental hygiene is at the top of the list for back to school.

1. Scheduling a Checkup

First order of business: a regular checkup with your child's dentist. The American Dental Association notes that how often your child should have a checkup varies based on the dentist's preference and the child's health. Scheduling an appointment before school starts makes it easy to remember the last time your kid had a checkup and a cleaning. You can expect the dentist to offer X-rays and do a thorough exam, looking for potential issues such as decay, weakened enamel, and cavities that need to be addressed before school starts.

2. Consulting with an Orthodontist

Are you wondering if your child needs braces? The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that kids have a consultation when they turn 7 years old. By the age of 7, most kids have at least four permanent incisors and four molars. An orthodontist may not recommend braces that young, but the visit may help your orthodontist create a personalized care plan for your child, based on rate of growth and unique issues such as overcrowding or poor bite. If your child does require braces, they can be placed on the teeth before school starts.

3. Updating Oral Hygiene Routines

One more item on the back to school health checklist is a thorough audit of your child's current oral hygiene routine. After a summer of late nights and loose schedules, your child's routine may have been disrupted, resulting in less-than-ideal conditions for oral health. Grab a new toothbrush, such as the Colgate® Magik Toothbrush. When going over your child's back to school routine, make sure that brushing twice daily for at least two minutes and daily flossing makes the list. You may even want to observe your child while brushing to make sure his or her technique will effectively eliminate the plaque and germs that can collect on teeth.

The weeks before heading back to school is a flurry of new shoes, an updated wardrobe, and one last trip to the beach, but don't forget that your child's health is the most important component of another great school year. By taking the time to schedule appointments and stock up on new oral hygiene products, your child can head back to school with an organized backpack and a healthy smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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