Oral Health

Dental Screenings

School Dental Screening Requirement

Effective July 1, 2008, kindergarten and 9th grade students are required to have a dental screening. The purpose of the dental screening requirement is to improve the oral health of Iowa’s children. Parents must bring their student’s certificate of dental screening to their school. Only the official Iowa form will be accepted.

I-Smile™ at School

I-Smile™ Coordinators work with schools throughout the state to help implement the requirement. They can assist families to get their children screened and to find follow-up care as needed. For more information call the I-Smile™ Coordinator at 319-292-2247.


I-Smile™ provides dental screenings and fluoride treatments to children at preschools and child care centers. Watch for I-Smile™ at your child’s school, and make sure you sign up!

Elementary, Middle & High Schools

I-Smile™ supplies school nurses and dental hygienists with the things they need to screen kindergarten and 9th grade students in Black Hawk County schools. Contact your school nurse to find out when screenings are available.

Find a Dentist

Regular Dental Care is Important

Healthy teeth are a part of good overall health. Tooth decay can start early, so it is important for children to begin seeing a dentist by age 1. Regular check-ups catch tooth decay early or prevent it in the 1st place and children can learn early on that going to the dentist is safe and fun.

Tips for Choosing a Dentist

Look for a dentist that:

  • Accepts your method of payment
  • Has office hours that work for you
  • Is comfortable with children
  • Is located close to you
  • Offers a plan for dental care after hours
Tips for Parents at the Dental Office
  1. Make sure you are on time for the appointment.
  2. If you cannot make it, call to cancel the day before.
  3. Bring your child’s insurance card.
  4. Before the visit, write down concerns or questions you want to ask.
  5. Call the I-Smile™ Coordinator if you need help.
Find a Dentist Who Accepts Medicaid

It can be hard to find a dentist who accepts Iowa Medicaid, I-Smile™ can help. You can request a list of dentists accepting new patients with Iowa Medicaid. Contact I-Smile (319-292-2284) for a list of providers to be mailed or emailed to you.

Contact I-Smile™

The I-Smile™ Coordinator is just a phone call away. Help is available to answer dental questions, find a dentist and make appointments. The I-Smile™ Coordinator can help families work through barriers to dental care, just call 319-292-2247.

Healthy Smiles

Dentist by Age 1

Infants should visit the dentist as soon as the 1st tooth comes in or no later than age 1. Tiny teeth can get cavities too! Get to know the dentist early so that your child’s smile can stay healthy for years to come.


Help your child try a variety of healthy foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are healthy foods for teeth. Milk, yogurt and cheese are full of calcium and other minerals that strengthen teeth. Drink water when thirsty during the day. Save the milk, juice and other drinks for meal time. Cavities form fast when children sip on drinks other than water all day long. Avoid sticky foods that stick in the teeth and can cause cavities faster. Common culprits are raisins, crackers and of course, candy.

How often a child snacks affects their dental health too. Limit foods with starches and sugars to meal time only. Allow your child to snack on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cheese between meals.

Sharing Germs

Germs that cause cavities are passed from parents to their children. Avoid sharing forks, spoons and straws with your child and never put pacifiers, toys or other items in your mouth and then into your child's mouth.

Family Dental Health

Make sure the whole family has good dental health. Healthy mouths are less likely to spread cavity-causing germs.

Home Care

Brush morning and night is important. Children need an adult to brush for them until they can tie their own shoes. be sure to brush all parts of the teeth and brush slowly. It takes time to do a good job.

Fluoride Toothpaste

Use fluoride toothpaste to help teeth resist cavities. After brushing, spit or wipe out the extra toothpaste. Children age 2 and older should brush with a pea-size amount. Younger children also need fluoride toothpaste if they are at risk for cavities. Check with a dental professional to find out your child’s risk.

Help Paying for Dental Care

Iowa Medicaid

Medicaid (Title 19) is a program that pays for the health and dental care of people who qualify. The Medicaid program is managed by the Iowa Department of Human Services. To learn more call 319-292-2284 or visit the Iowa Medicaid website.


Iowa offers hawk-i health care coverage for uninsured children of Iowa working families. The hawk-i coverage is also available as a “dental only” option for children with medical insurance but no dental insurance. Monthly rates are based on income. Some families pay nothing at all. To learn more call 800-257-8563 or visit the hawk-i website.

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