The Dental Public Health Children's Program provides dental checks and services to children aged 0 to 5 in community health centres and as part of kindergarten screenings in schools. Services at most locations are free.

What to expect during a clinic appointment

During a Dental Public Health clinic appointment at a community health centre, the dental hygienist will meet with you and your child to:

  • check their risk for tooth decay,
  • do a dental screening,
  • apply fluoride to their teeth,
  • refer to other dental health programs (if needed) and
  • give oral health information, such as tips on how to brush your child's teeth.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease and can be linked to serious health problems and can be painful. The discomfort of untreated tooth decay can affect children’s growth and learning. Tooth decay can be prevented with daily mouth care, using fluoride toothpaste, good nutrition, and regular dental visits.

How to access

If your child does not have access to a dental clinic where they can have their teeth checked regularly, you can make an appointment with the VCH Dental Public Health Children's Program at a location near you

VCH dental services are free at most VCH Dental Public Health program locations. 

Services, ages, eligibility, and costs at the Vancouver Public Health Children’s Dental Program are different from other VCH locations. Find details of the Vancouver Public Health Children’s Dental Program.

Kindergarten dental screening in schools

Although kindergarten dental screenings may occur annually in the VCH region, a province-wide kindergarten dental screening program from the Ministry of Health occurs every three years. You can see a copy of the latest provincial report online.

During a kindergarten dental screening, the Dental Public Health team looks at each child’s teeth to find and help children with dental problems, which can affect their learning. These quick checks do not replace regular check-ups by a dentist.

After the screening, your child’s dental check information will be recorded in their health record. The information collected supports client referral and follow-up. The data helps to evaluate the VCH dental program at a local and provincial level. Information from these screenings stays private. We collect, use and share this information only as the law allows – the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

If parents or guardians do not want their children screened, they will be given the option to choose not to participate. Full details and dates will be sent to parents and caregivers before the screening date.

Importance of oral health

The Dental Public Health Program works to help prevent early childhood tooth decay. Oral health is important to a child’s sense of well-being, appearance, and overall health. An early start to good oral health is important for a lifetime of health as oral health diseases can lead to serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and premature and low birth weight babies.

Learn more about dental health with dental health resources, including information on

  • how to access funding resources like the Canada Dental Care Plan,
  • how to brush your child’s teeth,
  • how to prevent cavities, and
  • how to access a dental office.

Dental health resources

Find this service near you

  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program - Squamish Community Health Centre

    1140 Hunter Place Squamish
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at Gibsons Health Unit

    821 Gibsons Way Gibsons
  • Dental Public Health Program at qathet General Hospital

    5000 Joyce Ave, Third floor Powell River
  • Other

    Dental Public Health Program at Richmond Place – 8100 Granville Avenue

    8100 Granville Avenue Richmond
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at Robert & Lily Lee CHC

    1669 East Broadway, Unit 200 Vancouver
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at Sechelt Health Unit

    PO Box 1040, 5571 Inlet Avenue Sechelt
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at the Pemberton Health Centre

    1403 Portage Road, PO Box 8 Pemberton
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at the Whistler Health Care Centre

    4380 Lorimer Road Whistler
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program at West Vancouver Community Health Centre

    2121 Marine Drive West Vancouver
  • Community health centres

    Dental Public Health Program-Pender Harbour and District Health Centre

    5066 Francis Peninsula Road Madeira Park