It’s almost back to school time!

Back to school has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I confess I am a school supply hoarder. I love the smell, the textures, and the hope that new school supplies inspire.

The beginning of the school year is a chance at a new beginning. Many children will celebrate a new beginning milestone this year and attend their first day of kindergarten. Parents and caregivers will be busy preparing their little ones for this milestone. It is important to provide children with appropriate tools as they begin their educational journey. While those tools may include new school supplies, new shoes, and more, it’s crucial to remember the tool of prevention! One tool of prevention is ensuring all children entering kindergarten have a dental screening. A dental screening/exam is mandatory for all children entering kindergarten in the state of Kentucky. You can find the dental screening form here.

The development of good oral health practices from a young age encourages a life-long path toward health and wellbeing. School-age children are notably at risk for the development of cavities. The 2019 Kentucky Kids Count County Data Book reports only 53% of enrolled kindergarteners receive a dental screening or exam.  A Kindergarten dental screening or exam is one way to ensure children have access to early detection for oral health irregularities that may lead to additional health concerns, or even impair a child’s ability to learn.

Ensuring that kids have access to preventive and restorative dental care services will help children to succeed. No child should be held back from their full potential in school because of dental disease. Parents, health professionals, and community members have an opportunity to improve the outcome of Kentucky’s oral health by ensuring that students starting kindergarten complete a dental screening or exam to prevent and address oral health problems.