Start the School Year Right With Healthy Teeth


The school year is just around the corner. Make sure to send your child back to school with a healthy smile. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “dental disease alone causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year.” Before the new school year, it’s a good idea to check your calendar to see if your child is due for a dental cleaning or exam.

As described in the TRICARE Dental Program Handbook, the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) covers two routine cleanings and two fluoride treatments during a 12-month period for children age 1 and older. Learn more about your covered services under TDP in the handbook. If you need to find a TDP dentist, use the Find a Dentist tool on the TDP website.

If you’re going to take your child to see the dentist, ADA offers these tips to help your child have a successful dental visit:

  • Encourage Good Dental Habits at Home: The best checkup is a cavity-free checkup. You can help make this happen by encouraging your kids to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.
  • Choose the Right Time: Schedule your children’s dental visit at a time that works well with their schedule and not when they’ll be distracted or tired.
  • Feed Your Child Before the Visit: A hungry child isn’t a happy patient. Feed your child a light, healthy snack before the dental visit. Still have him or her thoroughly brush and remove all food residue before the checkup.
  • Stay Calm: If your child gets in the dental chair and panics, stay calm and try to provide comfort. Work with the dental team to get the checkup accomplished in hopes the next time will go more smoothly.

Check out more tips for taking your child to the dentist.

Your children may also need other services before school begins. Learn what rules or limits TRICARE may have on services like school physicals, vaccinations, and eye exams.

Finally, check out this TRICARE article on preventive care to learn more ways to make sure your child is healthy and ready for school.
At the time of posting, this information is current. For the most recent information, contact your TRICARE contractor or local military hospital or clinic.

Last Updated 10/14/2021