Dental care a must for children, adults at all ages

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If your child missed a dental check-up this past year, then schedule an appointment soon. Oral health is an important part of our overall wellness.

In Iowa kindergarteners and ninth graders must have proof of a dental screening. A “screening” is an exam that can detect problems early so they can be fixed before becoming a major issue.

Review the details on school dental screenings at the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

Out-of-state students who transfer into Iowa grades kindergarten through high school are required to have a dental screening. Proof of a recent dental exam in another state will be accepted.

If your son or daughter is entering college, check to see whether a physical and dental exam are required.

By the way, dental screenings are not just for children. If you can’t afford a dentist, you may contact the Dallas County Health Navigators at 515-993-3750 or phn@dallascountyiowa.gov for help locating a low-cost or free dental clinic.

This includes older adults on Medicare without dental coverage. Both Medicaid (Title 19) and the children’s Hawk-I insurance program cover annual dental exams. Apply for Medicaid on the Iowa Department of Human Services website.

If your child is not eligible for either of these programs, then contact Dallas County Health Navigation for assistance in signing up your family for an alternate affordable health insurance, such as employer-provided insurance or a private plan from the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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