Having a healthy mouth is an important part of overall good health and well-being. Oral health problems are common among school-aged children. Cavities (or tooth decay) are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the United States. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to tooth loss and problems with eating, speaking, and even learning. The good news is that oral health problems can be prevented. Learn more about your child’s oral health.

How can I prevent my child from having tooth decay?

Teach children healthy oral hygiene habits from a young age!

  • Brush teeth twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily.
  • Avoid sugary snacks and drinks - especially in between meals.
  • Limit the time spent sipping on bottles and sippy cups.
  • Don’t share utensils or bites of food because this can pass cavity-causing germs from your mouth to your child’s.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about applying dental sealants and/or fluoride varnish.

Read more of our tips to prevent tooth decay.

What dental services are offered in school?

A large number of schools in NYC have dental clinics, which may be mobile or at the school-based health centerAll students are treated with prior parental consent, regardless of insurance status, and at no cost to the parent or school.

Dental services may include:

  • Dental screening exam and cleaning.
  • Cavity prevention treatments, such as dental sealants and fluoride varnish
  • Other restorative services such as fillings
  • Oral health education.

How can my child get dental services in school?

  • Ask a school staff member to find out if your school has dental services. If they do not, advise them to reach out to
  • If your child comes home with a form to consent for a school dental program, be sure to sign and return it to school.

How do I find a dentist for my child?

The City offers several ways to find low-cost dentists near you!

  • If you have dental insurance, call your dental insurance provider for assistance to establish a Dental Home.
  • Most NYC school children are eligible for dental insurance at no cost! If you or your child do not have dental insurance, call 311 to find a low-cost dental provider or to request information on getting dental insurance.
  • Visit the NYC Health Map or review the Low Cost Dental Providers List.