A cavity-free childhood is possible
Cavities are not inevitable and tooth decay doesn’t have to be a part of growing up. Good oral health is a vital component of children’s health, general wellbeing and their ability to thrive. 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 lower income 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 and preteen children with disabilities 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% of third-grade students have at least one cavity and 17% 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, missed school days, 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. Studies show that children who experience tooth decay in their primary teeth are more likely to have cavities as adults, impacting their oral health and overall health for a lifetime.
To find an ABCD dentist near you, click here.
Follow this link to tell legislators that you support policies and proven-effective programs, like ABCD, that expand oral health care access for children.