This fall, 53 million students will enter the nation’s public and private school classrooms. Pencils, pens, rulers and writing tablets will top parents “to do” list when getting children ready for the back-to-school season, but what about a child’s teeth?
School districts insist on proof of immunizations for children returning to the classrooms, but it is strictly up to parents to monitor their child’s dental health, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
When parents forget their children’s teeth, it can damage their health, and their self-esteem at an important time in their life.
“For most children, back-to-school season is a time of excitement,” says James Walsh, DDS, FAGD, president of the Academy. “Yet, some kids won’t be returning to class wearing smiles because they haven’t been taking care of their teeth.”
Cavities remain one of the most common infectious diseases among U.S. children, yet many of them do not visit a dentist as often as they should, because they do not have a regular dentist, or their parents are too busy to find one. There are no immunizations or vaccines available to fight cavities, but twice annual check-ups are important to help combat this disease, especially in children with developing teeth.
The Academy of General Dentistry offers a free service to make it easy for parents to connect with a dentist. Consumers can dial 1-877-2X-A-YEAR (or 1-877/292-9327), toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the United States or Canada. Operators use ZIP code information to connect families with up to three general dentists near their home, office or school.
“A healthy smile promotes a healthy attitude and outlook on life,” says Dr. Walsh.
Calculating cost of school supplies vs. healthy chompers
Back-to-school preparation grows more expensive each fall at a rate that rivals the S&P 500. To counteract this pricey trend, a toll-free, non-profit service, 877/2X-A-YEAR (877/292-9327) helps parents find a dentist at an important time of year, when children head back to school.