Pencils, notebooks, and backpacks, it is back to school time for many scholars. This is the time of the year when parents and caregivers will be helping their child prepare for a successful school year.

Parent support and encouragement can help a child do better in school. Supporting your child with their dental health can also help them succeed in school.

Poor dental health can affect a child’s attendance and grades, which can cause a child to fall behind in their schoolwork. Poor dental health may also develop into an infection or other serious health condition. Helping your scholar with their dental care routine can prevent pain and infections from cavities and other dental problems which can affect their health, school performance, and school experience.

What is a dental care routine?

  • Brush teeth twice (2) a day. Especially before bed.
  • Floss at least once a day. Cleaning between the teeth and gums helps prevent cavities and gum irritation.
  • See the dentist twice (2) a year. A dental exam, teeth cleaning, and information on good dental care habits can help maintain good dental health.

How can good dental health help my child do well in school?

  • Better school attendance. Less school days missed due to dental problems.
  • Better school grades. Children that do not experience dental pain can focus on their schoolwork.
  • Sleep better. Pain from dental problems can affect a child’s sleep. Studies have shown that children who get enough sleep have better attention, memory, and are better at problem solving compared to children that do not get enough sleep.
  • Speak and pronounce words correctly. The tongue and teeth work together to produce clear words. Losing baby teeth too soon from poor dental health can affect a child’s ability to talk clearly.
  • Better self-esteem. Good oral health can help a child with their ability to speak and smile, giving them the confidence to interact with classmates and teachers.

How can I support my child with their dental care routine?

  • Make dental care items easy to replace. Have extra toothpaste, toothbrushes, brush heads, and dental floss available.
  • Practice with your child their dental care routine. Continue until you are confident they can do it on their own.
  • Include extra dental care items in the bathroom such as a timer, clean cup for rinsing, and a safe step stool for children.
  • Lead by example. Your child may adopt good dental care habits by watching you take care of your own oral health.
  • Stick to routine dental visits. Seeing the dentist every six months can help prevent dental problems, such as cavities from becoming serious and painful.
  • Need to find a dental home for your child? Visit Smile Habits OC or call the OC Health Referral Line at 1-800-564-8448, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Children may not always be eager to follow a dental care routine. Showing your support by being patient and teaching your child the importance of good dental care habits can help them have a healthier smile and better grades throughout their school years.

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