Back to School Dental Exams for Kindergarteners
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 20 2020, 11:48 AM
It may be summertime now, but soon it will be time to start thinking about back to school, whatever that may look like this year. But no matter where children will be attending school this fall - whether it be at home or in a physical school building, there are some requirements that will likely remain the same. Namely, the oral health requirements.
Signed into law in 2005, AB 1433 was designed to help schools figure out which children entering the school system are suffering from undiagnosed oral health problems. It requires all rising kindergarteners to be seen by a dentist prior to beginning kindergarten or first grade, if first grade is the first year of public school they will be attending. The dental exam functions much like a required physical and vaccines.
Dr. Martin Abelar is a dentist in San Diego, California. He says the law was created to help kids start school with their best foot forward
"The law was created because many children in California are suffering from cavities and oral health problems that make focusing on their studies almost impossible, causing pain and discomfort that may even cause missed days at school," says Abelar
In fact, according to a study by the University of California at Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, California, out of 7.2 million school aged children in the State of California, 504,000 or 7 percent missed at least one day of school last year because of dental problems. That’s a lot of missed school, and a lot of hurting teeth.
So, what can you do to make sure your kindergartener or first grader aces his or her oral health exam? Thankfully, there’s no studying required- just great oral hygiene! Here are Abelar’s tips for starting your kids on an excellent oral health routine:
Make sure your child is brushing at least twice a day. At the kindergarten age they should be able to brush their own teeth, however its okay if your kindergartener or first grader still needs a little brushing help.
Help them floss their teeth as well, at least once per day
Let your child watch you complete your oral health routine, so he or she is not afraid to try it on their own, and so they know what they should be doing. An added bonus is many kids are encouraged to try things on their own when they see a parent or guardian do it first.
Make it fun. Don’t make oral health feel like a chore. Have them dance while they brush or sing a song to them for two minutes to help count down the two minute minimum for brushing.
Create a reward chart for brushing and flossing. Reward with stickers, more screen time or other treats that help encourage them to be independent about their oral health care.
If it’s time for your student to have an oral health exam, whether they are just starting school or an older student, contact your dentist or school district for more information.