In preparing for the new school year, the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are reminding parents and caregivers to include a dental examination as part of their children’s routine back-to-school health check-ups and immunizations.

Dental exams should not be overlooked, said Kimberly Harms, DDS, an ADA consumer adviser and practicing Minnesota dentist. "All children need and deserve to arrive on the first day of school healthy and ready to learn. Professional dental care is important to maintaining good overall health."

"Children with untreated health and development problems may have trouble concentrating and learning," said Rani Gereige, MD, MPH, FAAP, a member of the AAP’s executive committee of the Council on School Health. "When a child has serious tooth decay, it can affect overall health and can lead to problems in eating, speaking, and paying attention in class, which is why it is important to include an oral health assessment by a dentist as part of the routine back-to-school health examination."

The ADA and AAP‘s back-to-school health awareness campaign is part of an effort by both organizations to remind parents to complete all the health examinations and necessary immunizations for their children in time for the new school year.