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New State Mandated Dental Program for Pre-School and Kindergarten Children

The Health Department has enacted a new state mandated dental program for preschool and kindergarten children. “The Kindergarten Oral Health Program was passed as public health law as of January 1st of 2024. This is where we go into preschools, head starts in the spring and then kindergarten classes in the fall. It has to be a dental professional with a PA 161 and mobile dental license. So, you’re going outside of the dental practice into schools, and you assess kids,” Community Health Director for Health District 2 &4, Elisa Dack said.

Although the methods are quite primitive, they can still assess a lot. “We use just a mirror and a flashlight, and we take a look at their mouth and make sure everything looks okay. If it doesn’t, we inform the parents. Many kids have dental homes, and that’s the whole point of this program to make sure that they’re connected with dental homes and they’re having encounters,” Dack said. Making sure all children have access to dental care is the goal, “The eight counties that I work in, that’s the biggest thing, is barriers to care. Also having pediatric specialist, we really need more pediatric specialists. And so, the biggest thing is making sure these kids get connected to care. And that’s what we do full circle follow up, and that they have a dental home and that they have healthy smiles for a lifetime,” said Dack.