Children – Oral Health Watch

A cavity-free childhood is possible

Tooth decay doesn’t have to be a part of childhood. Good oral health is a vital component of children’s happiness and wellbeing. When young children have access to preventive oral health care and early treatment, it sets them on a path of healthy living.

Washington state is a national leader in providing oral health care for young children, due in large part to the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. Oral Health Watch supports efforts to maintain and strengthen proven-effective programs like ABCD to ensure that young children continue to have access to essential preventive oral health care and early treatment. We urge lawmakers to remain committed to children’s oral health and build on the progress that has been made.

Though almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. In Washington state, 53 percent of third-grade students have at least one cavity and 17 percent of third-graders reported having seven or more cavities. These numbers are unacceptable.

Poor oral health has serious consequences for children. If left untreated, oral disease can lead to painful cavities, lower school attendance, malnutrition, low self-esteem and diminished employment opportunities later in life. Policies that provide accessible dental care in the early years also help foster lifelong health and general wellbeing. Studies show that children who experience decay in their primary teeth are more likely to have cavities as adults, impacting their oral health and overall health for a lifetime.

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…

Op-ed: Equity requires retaining dental coverage

State of Reform •

Policymakers in Olympia confronting the financial damage caused by COVID-19 have some difficult decisions to make…Yet, it would be a huge mistake to cut essential health care safety net programs for people who are the most vulnerable and are already experiencing health inequities.