GOING BACK TO SCHOOL means more friends, more sports, and more smiles! While you may be busy buying notebooks, gel pens, lunch boxes and backpacks; make sure to schedule a checkup to keep your kids' smiles shining bright! "Back-to-school time is the perfect time to incorporate good oral health habits into a child's daily routine," Says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cindy Flanagan, DDS, FAGD. "The sooner you make them a priority, the sooner your child will benefit." Your child should be seen by their dentist twice a year. This when theyare losing baby teeth while growing their permanent teeth. Consistent dental check-ups ensure that dental problems are prevented or caught early and over time will prevent your child from missing school as a result of dental pain. One of the most common chronic childhood diseases is tooth decay.If left untreated can hinder a child's ability to eat, speak, sleep, and learn. Ask your child's dentist about sealants and fluoride treatments to protect your child's teeth from cavities. Back to school is also the perfect time to get back to consistent brushing habits. Having a regular routine of brushing and flossing will also improve dental health. Including a travel size tooth brush and toothpaste in their back pack will encourage them to brush when they are not at home. If they don't have access to a tooth brush, remind them to wash their rinse their mouth at a drinking fountain. By caring for their mouth at school, they learn how to independently care for their dental health. Proper nutrition plays a huge role in a child's dental health. Children eat 20% of their meals at school during the school year. Many consume foods that are high in sugar and additives such as sports drinks, chips, and cookies. These foods will leave your child feeling sluggish after lunch and can also lead to cavities. Sending perishable items such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins will not only help their overall energy and will make them more attentive at school. Fruits and veggies are super foods for your child's teeth and will keep your child smiling for years to come!