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Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement

Lack of access to dental care is a problem for many California children. Dental disease is one of the most common reasons for school absences, and make it hard for children to concentrate and learn. The kindergarten dental checkup requirement, AB 1433, signed into law in 2005, helps schools identify children suffering from untreated dental disease and helps parents establish a dental home for their children.

For Parents

AB 1433 requires your child receive an assessment of his or her oral health as part of school readiness activities for kindergarten entry (or first grade if this is your child’s first year in public school). An oral health assessment conducted the year prior to kindergarten, or by May of your child’s kindergarten year satisfies this requirement. Check with your child’s school for details, as each school notifies parents and distributes the required form, which includes information about the law, consistent with school district polices.

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For Schools

AB 1433 funding is in included in categorical program funding schools receive through the Local Control Funding Formula. Schools are urged to include AB1433 activities when developing their Local Control and Accountability Plans. In particular, these funds can be used to notify parents and legal guardians of the oral health assessment requirements and support data reporting.

Schools can find resources on this website or by visiting the CDE.

In 2018, the law was updated to provide the state dental director with more oversight for the program, including data collection. The grant funding to local health jurisdictions, authorized by Proposition 56 (2016), encourages coordination and reporting on kindergarten oral health assessment and is one of the deliverables (Document D. Scope of Work). California Schools are urged to watch for notifications from the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health with updates, training opportunities and advisories on AB 1433 and data reporting. Data collected and reported include:

  • The total number of pupils who are subject to the requirement
  • The total number who presented proof of an assessment
  • The number who are assessed and found to have untreated decay
  • The number who are assessed and found to have experienced dental disease (measured as either treated or untreated dental decay)
  • The number who could not complete an assessment due to financial burden
  • The number who could not complete an assessment due to lack of access to a licensed dental professional
  • The number who could not complete an assessment because of lack of parental consent
  • The number who did not return either the assessment form or the waiver request to the school

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For Dental Professionals

In 2005, the California Dental Association sponsored landmark legislation requiring oral health assessments for children entering public school for the first time (at kindergarten or first grade). The ultimate goal of this program is to establish a dental home for each child. The program will identify children who need further examination and dental treatment, and will identify barriers to receiving care. You play a critical role in ensuring the success of this program. It’s an important step in improving children’s oral health.

The assessment, or evaluation, can be met in many ways. It can be a complete examination and treatment plan performed by a dentist, or it can be a more basic oral health evaluation, such as a screening, which can be performed by a dentist, hygienist or an extended function registered dental assistant with supervision.

What follows is a Q & A designed to address common questions regarding the roles and responsibilities of dentists and office staff.

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For Clinics

The required assessment, or evaluation, can be met in many ways. It can be a complete examination and treatment plan performed by a dentist, or it can be a more basic oral health evaluation, such as a screening, which can be performed by a dentist, hygienist or an extended function registered dental assistant with supervision.

What follows is a Q & A designed to address common questions regarding this requirement.

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