For Immediate Release
Contact: Rebecca Reid
Email: [email protected]
Although the attention over medical and dental coverage is focused on those insured through
Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, Congress has yet to extend funding for the Children’s
Health Insurance Program (CHIP), whose funding will expire at the end of September.
“This survey speaks loud and clear — coverage counts,” said Meg Booth, executive director for
the Children’s Dental Health Project. “When children are covered by Medicaid, CHIP or private
insurance, they are more likely to have regular dental visits. And they are far less likely to have
serious oral health problems that can cause pain and disrupt their lives.”
The parent survey findings reflect recent research on children’s dental health access. A recent
Journal of the American Dental Association study found that uninsured children had the fewest
dental appointments and their parents were most likely to report unmet dental health needs due to
cost. Children’s dental health needs are also especially pronounced in low-income, minority, and
rural communities, according to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trusts analysis.
Nationwide, more than 18 million low-income children went without dental care, including
routine exams, in 2014. More than 4 million children did not receive needed dental care because
their families could not afford it. Even when controlling for insurance status, low-income and
minority children are less likely to receive preventive dental care, according to the analysis.
Without access to preventive dental care, many patients are left to seek expensive emergency
dental care for unaddressed oral health needs. According to a report from the ADA, in 2012 there
were more than two million dental-related visits to hospital emergency rooms, which accounted
for about $1.6 billion in health costs.
Research shows children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss school
than their healthier peers. A California study found that teens with recent dental pain were four
times more likely to earn lower grade-point averages than healthier teens in the same schools. In
2012, the Bipartisan Policy Center reported that 62% of the U.S. Army’s new recruits were “not
immediately deployable because of a significant dental issue.” Military health experts reported
that dental disease was a common cause of non-battle injuries that required evacuation from
combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Children with poor oral health often grow up to become adults with poor oral health,” said
David King, a Benevis Foundation board member. “That has consequences for our nation in so
many ways. The best way to stop the cycle of dental disease is to prevent it.”
To view the complete survey results, go to http://bit.ly/2nQfb2j.
About the Children’s Dental Health Project
The Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP) is an independent nonprofit that creates and advances
innovative policy solutions so that no child suffers from tooth decay. Based in Washington, D.C., we
are driven by the vision of all children achieving optimal oral health in order to reach their full
potential. CDHP uses data measurement and analysis to advance models that incentivize oral health,
not just payment for treating the symptoms of dental disease. CDHP seeks to lead the way toward a
health care system that is truly inclusive of oral health, from payment to care delivery. Learn more
about us at www.cdhp.org.
About the Benevis Foundation
The Benevis Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization committed to improving dental healthcare access
and outcomes through research, education and outreach. The foundation sponsors ongoing research on
the role of Medicaid dental providers in improving access to preventative care, early intervention, and
dental health education among traditionally underserved pediatric populations, as well as research on
the cost savings associated with improving access to dental care in both federal and state healthcare
systems. Through these research efforts, the Benevis Foundation aims to provide data that informs and
strengthens public policy related to dental access and affordability. For more information,