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Q: Why do I need to have a dental exam for my child before she goes to school?

Posted August 19, 2015 in Advice Column, Winterset

A: The State of Iowa passed legislation in 2007 that requires all students entering kindergarten and ninth grade to have a dental screening. This was to help promote the importance of oral health and improve the health of our children. You must submit a dental screening form from the Iowa Department of Public Health to your child’s school when you register them. The school will provide you with a screening form, or you can ask your dentist if they have a copy. You must use this form for your child’s school dental screening.

If your child had an exam recently, there is no need to take them back to the dentist. For kindergarten exams, they are accepted if your child has been seen since age 3. Ninth grade exams will be accepted if they have been done one year prior to registration. Call your dental office and they can send a screening form to your school for you.

Although this screening is only required twice for the school system, your child should be seen every six months by a dental professional. Regular dental cleanings and exams are a necessary part of keeping your child’s mouth healthy. Even if you are helping them brush at home, a professional cleaning, x-rays (if needed) and an exam by a dentist are the best way to detect signs of cavities and provide treatment if necessary.

Information provided by Dr. Christopher W. Blanchard, Blanchard Family Dentistry, 820 West Summit St., 462-4474.

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