Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Michigan Introduces Kindergarten Dental Screenings – A Game-Changer in Children’s Health

(Bridge photo by Robin Erb)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a new law requiring Kindergarten Oral Health Assessments (KOHAs) for first-time schoolchildren starting next school year. The law guarantees dental screenings for children who haven’t had a dental visit within six months of registering for kindergarten or first grade. Tooth decay, a common childhood disease, affects over half of U.S. children by the age of 8. The law aims to combat the misconception that baby teeth’s condition doesn’t matter, emphasizing the importance of early dental care.

(Bridge photo by Robin Erb)

Property Tax Refunds and Mandates Dental Screenings for Schoolchildren

Approximately 48% of the $30.5 million in automatic refunds will be directly deposited into the bank accounts of property owners over the next three months, benefiting those who may qualify for property tax exemptions. The program seeks to correct overpayments made during the First Installment by considering exemptions applied to the Second Installment tax bill. The refunds are part of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’s initiative to rectify excess payments by property owners.

The new law will require dental exams for schoolchildren, adding dental screenings to visual and hearing screenings already mandated under Michigan law. While the oral assessments won’t include cleanings or treatment, they will help identify decay and other issues. Dental providers are required to notify parents of necessary treatments. For children from low-income families, the cost of care will be covered by Healthy Kids Dental, the Medicaid plan.

The law adds dental exams to the vision and hearing screenings required for nearly 75 years in Michigan, screening about 1 million students each year in several grades. A pilot program conducted through 22 local health departments screened over 10,000 children last year, referring 2,479 for follow-up dental care. The initiative aims to address Michigan’s lack of health workers, including dental hygienists, who may conduct the screenings.

READ ALSO: For Michigan kindergarteners next fall, open your mouth and say ‘ahh’

1.5 Million for Dental Screenings Program

The Delta Dental Foundation granted $1.5 million to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help defray start-up costs for the dental screenings program. Concerns have been raised about Michigan’s lack of health workers, particularly dental hygienists, and the potential challenges in providing follow-up care for children diagnosed with cavities.

Michigan parents can seek a religious exemption to the dental screening, but a child cannot be excluded from school attendance without the exam. Despite the challenges, the law marks a significant step toward prioritizing children’s oral health and addressing issues that can disrupt learning and lead to lifelong health problems.

READ ALSO: Michigan offers free dental care to poor kids; more than 400,000 don’t use it

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *