Does MEPS Look at Your Teeth? Essential Dental Exam Info for Recruits

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Wondering if MEPS checks your teeth during the military enlistment process? You’re not alone. Many potential recruits have concerns about the medical evaluations they’ll face. Understanding what MEPS examines can help you prepare and ease any apprehensions.

Your dental health is crucial for military readiness. MEPS, or the Military Entrance Processing Station, conducts thorough medical screenings to ensure candidates meet the necessary health standards. So yes, they do look at your teeth, among other things. Knowing what to expect can make this part of the enlistment process smoother for you.

Understanding MEPS and Its Importance in Military Enlistment

Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS, plays a critical role in assessing the eligibility of potential military recruits. Serving as a gateway, it ensures that individuals meet the rigorous standards required for service.

Who Goes Through MEPS?

Every prospective recruit must pass through MEPS. It doesn’t matter if you’re considering the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard; MEPS is your first stop. Recruits from all branches undergo this thorough evaluation to determine their readiness for military duty. For example, high school students aspiring to join after graduation and college graduates seeking to enlist all pass through MEPS.

What Is Included in a MEPS Examination?

A MEPS examination includes various medical tests. It starts with a comprehensive physical examination that assesses overall health and fitness. Blood tests, urine tests, hearing tests, and vision tests check for any underlying health issues. Also, MEPS evaluates mental health through aptitude tests and personal interviews.

Your dental health is a key component of the MEPS medical screening. Examiners look for untreated cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues that might affect your ability to deploy. Severe dental problems can lead to disqualification, causing potential delays in your enlistment.

To prepare, focus on general health, including your diet and exercise routine. Ensure your immunizations are up to date. It’s beneficial to schedule a dental check-up before MEPS to address any potential issues.

Does MEPS Look at Your Teeth? Exploring Dental Screening

Yes, MEPS looks at your teeth. During the MEPS dental screening, a licensed dentist examines your oral health. This evaluation ensures recruits meet the military’s dental standards.

Why Dental Checks Are Conducted at MEPS

Dental health matters in the military. At MEPS, dental checks ensure recruits can handle the physical demands without dental issues. Poor oral health can lead to infections, which compromise a soldier’s readiness and effectiveness. For instance, untreated cavities or gum disease can cause severe pain or serious medical conditions. By identifying these issues early, MEPS helps prevent future complications.

What Happens if Issues Are Found During the Dental Examination?

If dental issues surface during MEPS, you’ll need treatment before proceeding. The type of issue determines the course of action. Minor problems, like small cavities, generally require a treatment plan from a civilian dentist. For severe issues, like advanced periodontal disease, enlistment can be delayed until the condition is resolved.

The military prioritizes recruits’ health to maintain operational readiness. Ensuring your dental health aligns with these standards is crucial for uninterrupted enlistment.

Implications of Dental Health on Military Readiness

Dental health directly influences military readiness by ensuring recruits can perform their duties without oral health issues. Unresolved dental problems can lead to pain, infections, and operational complications, which jeopardize mission success.

Preventive Measures for Dental Health Before MEPS

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential before heading to MEPS. Brush and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent decay. Visit a dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. Address any cavities, gum disease, or other dental issues in advance to avoid complications during your MEPS examination. Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals contributes to overall dental health.

Dental Criteria That Can Affect Your Military Career

Several dental conditions can affect your eligibility and progression in the military. If you have missing teeth, severe gum disease, or untreated cavities, these issues could delay or prevent your enlistment. Tooth decay, abscesses, or oral infections might require immediate treatment before proceeding. MEPS also assesses jaw alignment and the presence of orthodontic appliances, which might impact your ability to perform certain tasks. Ensuring your dental health meets military standards is crucial for a smooth enlistment process and a successful military career.

How to Prepare for a MEPS Dental Exam

Facing the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) dental exam may seem daunting, but with proper preparation and care, you can ease the process. Paying attention to your dental health not only boosts your chances of enlistment but also ensures you are combat-ready.

  1. Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups
    Routine dental visits every six months detect and address issues early. Dentists can identify cavities, gum disease, and other conditions before they worsen. If your check-up is due, prioritize it before going to MEPS.
  2. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
    Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once daily reduces plaque and prevents cavities. Using an antiseptic mouthwash adds an extra layer of protection against oral bacteria.
  3. Address Existing Dental Issues
    Resolve any known dental problems before MEPS. Get cavities filled, treat gum disease, and replace any missing teeth with bridges or implants. Ensuring your dental health is optimal minimizes the risk of MEPS disqualification.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
    A diet low in sugar and high in calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and almonds supports strong teeth and gums. Drinking plenty of water also helps maintain oral health.
  5. Avoid Tobacco Products
    Using tobacco can lead to severe gum disease, tooth loss, and other oral health issues. Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco improves not only oral health but overall well-being.

By following these practical steps, you increase your chances of passing the MEPS dental exam and meeting the military’s dental standards. Prioritizing dental health before the MEPS evaluation ensures you’re ready for enlistment and a successful military career.


Taking care of your dental health is crucial for passing the MEPS dental exam and securing your place in the military. By addressing dental issues beforehand and following a consistent oral hygiene routine, you can meet the military’s dental standards. Regular dental check-ups, a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco products are essential steps in this process. Preparing well ensures you’re ready for the challenges ahead and sets you on the path to a successful military career.


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