Berrien County Health Department is offering free dental screenings for kindergarteners

NOW: Berrien County Health Department is offering free dental screenings for kindergarteners

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. --Oral hygiene is more important than ever, and especially for kids! 

From June until August, the Berrien County Health Department is offering free dental screenings for kindergarteners.  

This program is part of the Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment Law, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December 2023.    

A dental assessment is now a mandatory part of Michigan's kindergarten entry requirements, joining vision and hearing screenings, ensuring that every child can start their educational journey with a healthy smile.   

Berrien and Van Buren counties are now teaming up to bring in dental hygienists and make these crucial checks free for young families.  

Berrien County Health Officer Guy Miller says this collaboration aims to increase access to dental professionals, allowing parents and caregivers to detect early signs of dental disease before it causes pain or serious damage to the child's oral health.   

"We want to give parents and children the opportunity for these early detection, early detection screenings, so that it doesn't end up becoming a problem later in life," Miller said.  

During the brief, painless assessment, a registered dental hygienist will examine the child's teeth and gums and note any findings. No treatment or dental cleaning will be performed, and the visit will only take about five minutes, according to Miller.   

If further treatment is needed, hygienists will refer the patient to a dentist.  

And if parents need help paying for those extra referrals, the Healthy Kids Dental Program can also cover those costs.  

This service is available at both the Niles and Benton Harbor locations.  

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