CDA Honors School Districts for Commitment to Oral Health

Sacramento, Calif. — CDA recognized the top California school districts for their ongoing efforts in support of the state's Children's Oral Health Assessment law [AB 1433] to ensure children's oral health needs are being met. Sixty-four California school districts have collected and submitted data each year since the dental check-up program began in 2006. The top-performing districts include Sierra Plumas Unified, San Francisco Unified, and Plumas Unified.

These districts consistently make oral health a priority by obtaining and reporting the dental check-up data required by law every year. CDA recognizes the districts' leadership in ensuring their school children are healthy and ready to learn.

"It is important to understand the relationship between children's oral health and their readiness to learn in school," said CDA President Andrew Soderstrom, DDS, a pediatric dentist. "We appreciate the efforts made by these school districts to ensure their students maintain good oral health; it provides them with the opportunity to learn and perform at their full potential."

Dental disease is a hidden epidemic among school-age children. Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, more common than asthma and obesity, affecting nearly two-thirds of California's children by the time they reach third grade.

Although tooth decay is easily preventable, it is a progressive infection that does not heal without treatment. Left untreated, children's dental disease can have debilitating effects, including chronic pain, difficulty learning, and inability to eat properly, smile, and feel good about themselves. California children miss an estimated 874,000 school days each year due to dental problems costing local school districts approximately $28.8 million.

CDA continues to work with its partners in education and health to support AB 1433, which requires children to have a dental check-up by May 31 of their first year of enrollment in a public school (kindergarten or first grade). The intent of the law is to determine unmet dental needs, support children's school readiness and encourage regular dental care. Further, it carries an essential message to parents about the important relationship between a child's oral health and overall health and provides simple tips for keeping children healthy.

See a list of the top performing school districts and counties supporting the Children's Oral Health Assessment law at cda.org/1433.

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