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Back-to-School Checklist Should Include Dental Check-Up

Aug 28, 2014

As parents and kids gear up for a new school year, a trip to the dentist should be on everyone’s back-to-school checklist, according to dentists from Kool Smiles, a children’s dental provider expanding access to quality, affordable dental care in underserved communities nationwide. 

“Add the dental check-up to the back-to-school checklist,” said Dr. D Ray Gifford, Managing Dental Director at Kool Smiles. “Good dental health is closely linked to academic success, and a back-to-school dental checkup provides an opportunity to review brushing and flossing best practices, as well as identify any potential dental health problems that can be addressed before the school year starts.” 

Children with poor dental health can face serious setbacks at school, including pain that can lead to difficulty eating, sleeping and concentrating; poor nutrition; low self-esteem; and other health problems. Several studies have demonstrated the link between poor dental health and low grade point averages and nearly three times more missed days at school due to dental problems.  Over 51 million school hours are lost every year due to tooth decay, and parents miss an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for kids with dental problems. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting the dentist regularly to maintain oral health, noting that even those with a low-risk profile should have at least one dental visit per year. 

While tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, it is also one of the most treatable - simply by following preventive measures like scheduling dental checkups every six months, avoiding cavity-causing foods, and regular brushing and flossing. 

“The healthier kids are, the better they do in school,” said Dr. Gifford. “Add a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to your child’s backpack and encourage them to brush after lunch.  A healthy smile makes a happy student and that’s a win for children, teachers and parents.” 

In between regular dental checkups, Kool smiles encourages an easy-to-remember 3-2-1 routine for children and families: 

3) Eat 3 healthy meals a day

2) Brush 2 times each day (morning and night)

1) Floss at least once every day for healthy teeth

“Remember, brushing plus flossing equals good dental health,” said Dr. Gifford. “Make sure your child gets an A+ in dental hygiene year round.”

To celebrate families who make dental checkups a back-to-school priority, Kool Smiles is also running a #SkoolSmilesContest on Instagram. Instagram users can enter the contest by following the @MyKoolSmiles account and sharing a photo, using the #SkoolSmilesContest hashtag, that shows how their family is getting ready to go back to school. The winner of the contest will be announced August 25, 2014, and will be featured in the Fall edition of Kool Smiles’ Smile Magazine.

Starting early with routine dental visits, good oral care and healthy habits is the best way to ensure a lifetime of happy smiles. To find your local Kool Smiles office to schedule an appointment, please use our office locater at www.koolsmiles.com/locations

About Kool Smiles

Founded in 2002, Kool Smiles has 123 affiliated dental practices across 15 states andthe District of Columbia, primarily in underserved communities that have historically lacked access to dental care. As recently as January 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that approximately 45 million Americans live in "dental care shortage areas." According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), approximately 80 percent of dentists do not accept patients with Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Plans (SCHIP), citing, among other reasons, low reimbursement for their services. Kool Smiles helps provide a safety net for these patients who often are not aware of the importance of good dental health practices and regular check-ups at the dentist.

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