As a new school year begins for students across the state, many parents may be thinking about school supplies, earlier bedtimes and homework.

But with tooth decay being one of the most common diseases among children, Delta Dental of Arizona is reminding parents to help prepare kids for a healthy and successful school year.

According to a Delta Dental survey, more than 30 percent of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 had to miss school due to an oral health problem.

The breakdown:

How much school missed: 18 percent of parents reported their children missed at least a half a day of school, four percent said their children missed one day, four percent reported children missing two days and six percent said their children had to miss three or more days.

By parents’ age: Parents age 35 to 44 reported the most amount of school missed by their children (35 percent), followed closely by parents 18-34 (34 percent), while parents 45 and older reported the least amount of school missed (19 percent).

The good news:

Some attention to the issue can help avoid oral health problems. Here are five quick tips from Delta Dental of Arizona to help parents get their kids on the right oral health track this school year:

  1. Brush all surfaces of the teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for about two minutes.
  2. Floss at least once a day.
  3. Limit not only sugary snacks but also high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods. These include foods like chips, pretzels, cookies, breads and dried fruits, including raisins. The bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive on simple sugars, especially those in sticky foods and treats.
  4. Limit fruit juice or other sweet/sugary drinks to mealtimes. Between meals and especially at bedtime, give your child water, it keeps them hydrated and helps prevent tooth-decay if your community water is fluoridated.
  5. Visit the dentist twice annually to learn about current or looming issues that could pose a problem.