CDA Reminds Parents to Prepare Children for School with Dental Checkup

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Help ensure children are healthy and ready to learn.

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Children need to be healthy in order to learn, and children with cavities are not healthy.

As children head back to school, the California Dental Association is reminding parents of the importance of children’s dental checkups to ensure children are healthy and ready to do well in school.

Cavities are preventable, but they affect more children than any other chronic childhood disease, and California's schoolchildren, ages 6 to 8, inclusive, experience oral disease at twice the rate of schoolchildren in other states.

In 2005, with the ultimate goal of establishing a regular source of dental care for every child, the kindergarten dental checkup requirement – CDA-sponsored AB 1433 – was signed into law, requiring children to have a dental checkup by May 31 of their first year in public school, in kindergarten or first grade. CDA encourages parents to check with their child’s school for more details.

Many things influence a child’s progress and success in school – and one of the most important is their health. Children with cavities may have difficulty eating, smiling, and paying attention or learning at school. Taking children to see a dentist early can help make sure they are healthy, ready to learn and avoid missed school days.

“Children need to be healthy in order to learn, and children with cavities are not healthy,” said CDA President-Elect Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist. “Regular dental checkups, along with good oral health habits at home, are easy ways to help prevent tooth decay and ensure your child remains healthy.”

By the time they enter kindergarten, more than half of California’s children have already experienced dental decay, nearly one-third have untreated decay and almost one in five have severe decay. By third grade, more than seventy percent of California’s children have experienced dental decay.

“Tooth decay is an infection that does not heal and can be painful if left untreated,” Robinson added. “Baby teeth are very important – they are not just teeth that will fall out. If cavities are not treated, children can become sick enough to need emergency room treatment and their adult teeth could be permanently damaged.”

To help keep mouths healthy and ensure kids are ready to learn, CDA recommends protecting teeth throughout the year by limiting sugary drinks, brushing for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly and visiting a dentist for a complete dental checkup on a regular basis.

About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association.

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Alicia Malaby
California Dental Association
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