You have a lot to think about when the new school year’s about to start, especially if you have more than one child headed back this year. Along with buying them new clothes and new school supplies, making sure your children visit the dentist should be on your list. The end of summer vacation is a great time for kids to see the dentist, because they’ve most likely been eating ice cream and candy all summer.

Although it’s important for everyone to see the dentist twice a year, children have different oral care needs, especially as their permanent teeth are coming in. The dentist can discover and diagnose potential problems that children are more susceptible to and provide treatments such as teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments and possible fillings and sealants.

Studies have shown that many children miss at least one school day per year as a result of a dental problem. Having a dental visit before the school year begins ensures that your child goes back to class with a clean bill of health and is less likely to be distracted by tooth pain or other dental issues while in class and less likely to miss school days for dental issues. Also, if your child is participating in school sports, it’s a great time to get a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums.

Seeing the dentist now can also help your children brush up on their oral hygiene habits. Having a bright smile with healthy gums starts at home with proper brushing habits and a healthy diet. Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once creates the foundation for healthy teeth and gums. Very young children are especially prone to tooth decay, and this is also the best time to instill habits that will last a lifetime. If you’re having trouble getting your children to brush, talk to a dentist today about tips and techniques to help them stick to it.