Law mandates dental screenings for Ore. schoolkids

A new Oregon law requiring dental screenings for children starting public school who are 7 years old or younger will take effect for the 2016-2017 school year.

HB 2972, sponsored by state Rep. Cedric Hayden, DDS (R-Roseburg), states that "each education provider shall require a student ... to submit certification that the student received a dental screening within the previous 12 months."

Bruce Austin, DMD, the statewide dental director for the Oregon Heath Authority, told the Oregonian that the screenings will consist of "a quick look in the mouth with a mirror and a bright light."

According to the bill, these screenings may be conducted by the following:

  • A dentist licensed to practice in Oregon.
  • A dental hygienist licensed to practice in Oregon
  • A healthcare practitioner who is acting in accordance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education, such as a school nurse
  • A person who is an employee of an education provider or has been trained in accordance with guidelines established by the dental director appointed by the Oregon Health Authority

The law was signed by Gov. Kate Brown on June 25.

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