Oral health facts – Oral Health Watch

Oral Health Facts

The following provide facts and information about the status of oral health in Washington.

Children’s Oral Health

  • Dental disease is the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Learn more from our children’s oral health fact sheet.


  • Washington’s 2010 Smile Survey is the latest statewide assessment of children’s oral health.  It shows that children’s oral health in Washington is improving, but further work remains. Learn more from our 2010 Smile Survey overview. Results from the 2015 Smile Survey will be posted mid-2016.


  • Over the last ten years, the rate of Medicaid insured children under age 6 receiving dental has nearly doubled, from 22% to 43%, and children are being seen earlier before disease starts. The percentage of young children receiving dental care in Washington. Learn more from our utilization graphic showing rates children under age six, two and one have receive dental care.


Senior’s Oral Health

  • Twenty-five percent of adults 65 to 74 nationwide have severe periodontal (gum) disease.Learn more from our fact sheet.  Learn more from our seniors oral health fact sheet.


Community Water Fluoridation

  • About two-thirds of the country—more than 180 million people—receive the health benefits of fluoridated water.  In Washington state, only about 62 percent of residents receive optimally fluoridated drinking water. Learn more from our fluoridation fact sheet.

Opportunities to Improve the Medicaid Dental Program

By: Diane Oakes, President & CEO of Arcora Foundation When our state legislators passed the 2019–2021 Operating Budget in the final days of the session, they included a proviso directing the Health Care Authority (HCA) to stop moving forward with the planned implementation of Medicaid dental managed care, to continue directly administering the program under…

Apple Health dental program investments good policy, the right thing to do

Oral Health Watch and the nearly two million Washington residents with Apple Health (Medicaid) dental coverage need your support. While the House and Governor’s budgets include an increase for the Apple Health dental program, the Senate budget represents a cut of more than $19M in total funds ($7.8M in state funds) from the program. The…

Expanding dental care access is a top priority during 2019 legislative session

Oral Health Watch believes every person should enjoy the benefits of good oral health and that no one should be burdened by painful cavities and untreated oral disease. As Washington lawmakers return to Olympia for a 105-day legislative session this week, OHW would like to share some of the legislative priorities of oral health advocates.…

Making progress toward improved oral health care access

Oral health care advocates had a good deal to cheer about in 2018 as both Washington state and the federal government signed into law legislation aimed at expanding dental care access for underserved populations. This year began with a short Washington state legislative session that yielded multiple oral health care access gains, including the Legislature’s…

Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 15th

Washington residents seeking health care coverage for 2019 on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange have until Saturday, December 15thbefore the open enrollment period ends. Enrollment for Apple Health, our state’s Medicaid program, is available year-round for individuals and families that qualify for free or low-cost health coverage. The number of people signing up for care in…

Make your voice heard for immigrant families

By Litonya Lester, Health Policy Director and Sarah Domondon, Policy and Advocacy Associate at Children’s Alliance Immigrant families shouldn’t have to choose between getting dental care and their stability in the U.S. But the White House’s current proposed rule on public charge have many wondering if accessing vital services will put them at risk. Luckily…

Annual free health clinic in Seattle returns with some changes


Dental care often has been one of the most requested services at the SKCC. On Thursday, the first day of the SKCC, the clinic set aside about 500 tickets for dental care. Staff said all of those tickets had been given out by 9 a.m. Thursday.