Oral health providers, state officials release report on dental care for children

LANSING — To wrap up Children’s Dental Health Month, the Michigan Oral Health Coalition today unveiled the Checkup on Oral Health: Age One Dental Visits report. The numbers released reveal a dramatic need for increased education and access to providers for young children on Medicaid across Michigan.

Sourced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the data is a county breakdown of the percentage of children under age two on Medicaid who have had a dental visit in the past calendar year. The current state rate is 6.5 percent — up from 4.5 in 2013, so while oral health providers and state health officials understand they have some ways to go, the increase is encouraging.

Guidelines from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Public Health Association recommend that infants see a dentist within six months of the appearance of their first tooth.

Though many factors have influenced the overall uptick in rates, investments in programs like Healthy Kids Dental, a MDHHS program partnership with Delta Dental serving Medicaid eligible children, can be particularly effective in increasing these rates.— G.G.

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