BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — During the pandemic, dental hygiene has declined a bit among young children.
“The kids didn’t have their usual schedules. They didn’t get up and brush their teeth for school. The parents, I think, were buying comfort food and that included lots of sugary drinks and snacks. , and dental offices weren’t taking appointments,” said chief hygienist Susie Rodriguez.
But the Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network helps solve this problem.
In conjunction with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, the nonprofit organization offers free dental screenings to students five and under throughout the county, from Ridgecrest and Tehachapi to Delano and Frazier Park.
“We go to kindergartens. We go to daycare. We go to health shows,” Rodriguez said.
Since its inception in 1999, the network has provided nearly $7,000,000 in preventive services to children in Kern County.
Rodriguez said the nonprofit is funded by tobacco tax money and First 5 Kern.
Everyone is eligible for their services, which include an oral assessment to identify tooth decay, fluoride varnish, and dental education
If a child needs further treatment, the program refers them to a local pediatric dentist and covers anything their family’s insurance doesn’t cover.
“It’s just a good feeling [to] leave knowing that [you’re] educate the parent with the child,” Rodriguez said. ” It’s just [very] reward.”
Rodriguez said they provide service on school campuses almost weekly. Their screenings are still taking place right now during the pandemic, but with protocols like face masks and extra cleaning.
To schedule a cleaning for your child, call 546-8906. Their office is located at 1800 30th Street. Click here to find out more.