A Child with a Healthy Smile is Ready for School

Dental disease is one of the most common reasons for school absences. It can make it difficult for children to concentrate and learn. Having a healthy mouth helps a child do well in school.

To make sure a child is ready for school, California law AB 1433, signed into law in 2006, requires that a child have an oral health assessment or dental check-up in his or her first year in public school (kindergarten or first grade). A completed Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment (KOHA) by a licensed dental professional meets this requirement.

The KOHA helps schools identify children suffering from untreated dental disease and helps parents establish a dental home for their children. KOHA data also allows the County and providers to prioritize areas for linkage-to-dental care services, oral health education initiatives, family engagement, and increased access initiatives.

Click on more information for KOHA forms and additional resources.

KOHA Reporting

School districts play an important role with the Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment (KOHA). Office staff, nurses, and health clerks help ensure families have the KOHA completed, returned to their child’s school, and report KOHA outcomes by submitting the required data to the System for California Oral Health Reporting (SCOHR) online database.

In Orange County there are 27 school districts and charter schools that are required to report KOHA data. During the 2021-22 school year, Orange County school districts reported oral health assessment data for 14.2% of all students enrolling in kindergarten. This was the lowest percentage among all counties in Southern California, including Los Angeles (44.8%), Riverside (33.7%), San Bernardino (21.3%), Ventura (39.7%), and San Diego (30.1%).

Click on more information below for KOHA reporting resources, including a training video on submitting KOHA data using SCOHR. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

Oral Health and School Readiness

In 2018, over 440,000 of California K-12 students missed school due to dental problems. Developing good dental health habits at an early age, including regular dental visits, can help a child’s attendance, school grades, and a lifetime of healthy smiles. Help promote and reinforce the benefits of good oral health in childhood.

Click on the links below to view resources from Smile, California on oral health and school readiness: