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Office of oral health

KOHA - Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment

Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement (Assembly Bill 1433) has been revised per Senate Bill 379 to improve oral health outcomes data needed to measure the success of prevention and intervention programs. SB 379 allows schools to provide onsite screening and fulfill the Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment (KOHA) with passive consent, such that parents/guardians of students would need to notify the school that they do not want their child screened. Please use the updated KOHA forms effective immediately. KOHA is another way schools can help reduce dental disease in children through connecting children to a source of dental care, reduce chronic absenteeism, and improve school readiness.

Effective January 1, 2007, students in their first year in public school must submit proof of oral health assessments. The assessments must be performed by a licensed or registered dental health professional, and proof of assessment is due on an annual basis by May 31.

Lack of access to dental care is a problem for many California children. Dental disease is one of the most common reasons for school absences and makes it hard for children to concentrate and learn. The kindergarten dental checkup requirement, AB 1433, signed into law in 2006, helps schools identify children suffering from untreated dental disease and helps parents establish a dental home for their children.

This requirement is established under (California Education Code [EC] Section 49452.8). The law states that schools must send notification of the new assessment requirement to parents or legal guardians. A sample notification letter, standardized assessment form, waiver form and an opt out form which is used only when assessments are offered at school sites for local educational agency use are available below.  

  • KOHA Notification Letter (PDF)
    • Letter from the school district to parent's/guardians regarding the need for their child to have a dental exam. 
  • KOHA Waiver Form (PDF)
    • Waiver form for parents who don't want to participate in KOHA. 
  • KOHA On-Site Opt-Out (PDF)
    • Waiver form for parents who want to opt-out of the on-site dental screenings at school. 
  • KOHA Assessment Form (PDF)
    • Oral health assessment form for the dental professional to complete. 

Each district is responsible for aggregating the data received from pupils and for sending an annual report (by December 31) to the respective county office of education. The law states that the county office shall maintain the data in a manner that allows for its release upon request.

KOHA (AB 1433) data should be submitted to the System for California Oral Health Reporting (SCOHR) at no cost to schools, districts, or counties.

Tooth decay is the most chronic yet preventable health care need among California's children. It is the cause of 874,000 school days missed each year, which costs schools $29 to $32 million annually in average daily attendance funding. Currently, more than half of California kindergartners have experienced tooth decay, and by third grade, this number rises to over 70 percent. If left untreated, tooth decay effects children's academic performance, social-emotional development, sleep, and nutrition. KOHA will help to ensure children are ready to learn when they start school, help them to be successful in school and improve their overall health status.

California 2019 3rd Grade Smile Survey

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