In Washington nearly 40% of Kindergarten children start school having experienced preventable tooth decay. Left untreated, the pain and infection caused by tooth decay can lead to problems in eating, speaking, and learning. Through prevention and early intervention, the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program works to ensure:
- More low-income children receive needed dental care: 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.
- Progress in improving oral health outcomes for children and cost savings: Washington’s 2010 Smile Survey shows that the rate of untreated decay among low-income preschoolers was cut in half over the last 5 years, from 26% in 2005 to 13% in 2010.
What the Legislature can do:
- Protect local funding for ABCD: Funding for local coordinators in counties across the state are needed to continue connecting children eligible for Medicaid with dental care.
- Protect funding for children’s health: Apple Health for Kids helps ensure that low-income children have access to medical and dental care.