NewsKern's Kindness


Free dental services for Kern County children

For appointments, see details below
Posted at 6:29 AM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 09:29:27-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — During the pandemic, dental hygiene has diminished a bit among young children.

"Kids weren’t on their regular schedules. They weren't getting up and brushing their teeth to go to school. The parents, I think, were buying comfort foods and that included a lot of sugary drinks and snacks, and dental offices weren’t taking appointments," said lead hygienist Susie Rodriguez.

But the Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network is helping fix that.

In collaboration with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, the nonprofit offers free dental screenings for students ages five and younger across the entire county, from Ridgecrest and Tehachapi to Delano and Frazier Park

“We go into preschools. We go into daycares. We go out to health fairs," said Rodriguez.

Since it was first founded in 1999, the network has provided almost $7,000,000 worth of preventative services to Kern County kids.

Rodriguez said the nonprofit is funded by tobacco tax money and First 5 Kern.

Everyone qualifies 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 does not.

“It’s just a good feeling [to] walk away knowing that [you’re] educating the parent along with the child," said Rodriguez. "It’s just [very] rewarding."

Rodriguez said they offer service on school campuses nearly every week. Their screenings are still happening 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 learn more.