Dear Parent or Guardian: California Requires This Health Assessment For Kindergarten

If you have a child attending public school for the first time, California has a bit of homework for you. In addition to following a vaccine schedule, the state has a Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment Requirement. Passed in 2005, Assembly Bill 1433 requires that your child has a dental checkup by May 31 of his or her first school year.

“The thought behind this requirement is that children in dental pain are unable to concentrate and learn in school. Further, it could lead to missed days at school,” says board certified pediatric dentist, Ellen Im, whose Poway office offers oral health assessments for students. “When we meet our kindergartners, we provide an array of services such as performing a clinical and radiographic examination, providing oral health instructions and dietary counseling, and assessing caries risk, speech, and oral habits,” says Dr. Im.

According to the State of California, more than half of its kindergartners have experienced tooth decay.

“Tooth decay is an infection that often worsens and can be painful if left untreated,” says Dr. Im. “Damage to baby teeth can affect permanent teeth, which is another good reason to start regular dental care as soon as the child turns one or has their first tooth,” Dr. Im says.

Dr. Im says that dental evaluations completed within 12 months before your child enters school will meet the state requirement. “AB 1433 is one way schools can help children stay healthy. At the same time, it helps parents establish a dental home for their children, ensuring they have access to services their children need.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Im, call (858) 679-6660 or visit

For more information about California’s Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement, visit


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