February 2012: National Children’s Dental Health Month

In 2002, the Urban Institute reported that one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses facing children in the United States today is tooth decay. It is astounding that oral health problems persist among children in spite the fact that tooth decay is largely preventable through regular dental cleanings and checkups. Still, 24 percent of children ages 5 to 17 account for 80 percent of the tooth decay disease in permanent teeth among this age group. Socioeconomic disparities are blamed for these oral health burdens and low-income children are disproportionately affected. Inadequate access to dental care can be cited as the problem. Please read the report: http://www.urban.org/publications/309527.html

It is with this problem in mind that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) offers Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Dental Services though a managed care model. Beginning March 1, 2012, HHSC will expand managed care dental services to include Medicaid. The goal of this expansion is to provide quality, comprehensive dental services to eligible recipients. HHSC will select two or more dental contractors to provide services to both Medicaid and CHIP Members. Please read the report:
http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/medicaid/MMC/TMHP_article_0611.pdf

It is good to remember also, that we can help protect our children’s teeth and diminish the growth of caries with various applications of dental sealants and with topical and systemic fluoride, but most importantly, a sound education and a good oral hygiene program will go a long way to help maintain healthy teeth and gums for a long, long time.

“Something Fun” from the American Dental Association in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month:

http://www.ada.org/sections/publicResources/pdfs/2012NCDHM_ActivitySheets_English_FULL.pdf