Oral Screening Bill for Elementary Students Awaits Governor’s Signature

Becky O'GuinFeatured News, Featured News, Government Relations & Advocacy

Senate Bill 142 (SB 142) was overwhelmingly approved by the legislature in the final days of the 2024 Colorado legislative session. It is waiting for the governor’s signature to become law.

The CDA created this legislation as an initial step in a broader plan to incorporate dental screenings in schools as a “norm” in Colorado—much like they are already for vision, hearing and mental health.

SB 142 would create a pilot program in public schools through awarded grants and provide oral health screenings to kindergarteners and third graders. The program would provide important data showing the effectiveness of oral health screenings as a public health tool to break the cycle of untreated dental disease.

Dental pain is the number one reason that kids miss school and has been for decades. Untreated dental decay can affect school performance, attendance, and behavior, as well as contribute to overall physical and mental health complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 million school hours are lost each year because of emergency dental care, and over $45 billion in U.S. productivity is lost each year due to untreated dental disease.

If enacted, the CDA will work with the overseeing state agencies to establish a program that best serves Colorado school kids. Once that program is up and running, the CDA hopes to build on this success by backing future legislation to expand this important initiative.