Health department prepares for child dental screening required by new legislation

GAYLORD — Vision and hearing screenings have been part of how families prepare for the big day — their child’s first day of kindergarten — for decades. Children enrolling into their first year of school will now receive an oral health screening, too.

“Dental health is often overlooked when we talk about the health and development of our kids,” Health Department of Northwest Michigan (HDNW) Health Officer Dan Thorell said in a statement. “Families need access to care to ensure their children stay healthy and have every advantage education provides.”

A primary way access to dental care is being addressed through a new state law requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to establish and maintain a program with local health departments, including HDNW. The program, called Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment (KOHA), is expected to serve 112,000 students statewide.

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