The Children's Dental Health Project's blog
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There’s a difference between “dental care” and oral health. For many people, dental care is about fillings or other treatments. At the Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP), when we talk about oral health, we shift the focus to preventing disease before it begins. As this video illustrates, CDHP’s work prioritizes prevention, policies and practices that can help reduce childhood tooth decay. We recognize that federal and state agencies, corporations, and foundations are rightfully looking to stretch a dollar. That’s why CDHP strives to identify cost-effective advancements to systems and practices that are already in place.
CDHP doesn’t provide direct dental services for children or others, though we are grateful for those who do. We instead work to ensure that America’s policies and practices help more children and pregnant women receive the oral health services they need. To accomplish this, CDHP wears a lot of hats.
We've made it CDHP’s mission to improve oral health for children and families by identifying and advancing solutions that are both innovative and cost-effective. Our policy brief on early childhood tooth decay offered policymakers seven recommendations for reducing dental disease among kids under age 6. CDHP continues to push for policies that maximize the number of children and pregnant women who have comprehensive and affordable dental coverage. Thanks to the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2009, more than 8 million children and thousands of pregnant women have affordable dental coverage today. That’s inspiring, but unless extended, federal funding for CHIP will expire in less than 10 months. CHIP isn't the only form of coverage we monitor and support. CDHP is a go-to source for understanding options to strengthen Medicaid dental services, and on how children’s dental benefits are offered through ACA insurance marketplaces. We continue to monitor the law and urge federal and state officials to increase transparency.
Medicaid enrollment data shows that the national average for children’s utilization of preventive dental services increased from 23% to 42% from FY2000 to FY2012— encouraging news, but there’s 58% more to go. Here at CDHP, we don’t shy away from the challenges; we embrace them because vulnerable families need allies. We work with diverse groups like MomsRising and the American College of Nurse-Midwives to raise awareness of oral health through social media. Over the past year, our reports have been cited in The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Kaiser Health News, and other media outlets. In all of CDHP’s work, prevention is our priority.
To learn more about our work, check out our video featuring our founder, Dr. Burton L. Edelstein, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and others.
Your tax-deductible donation can help CDHP make 2015 an even more successful year. Thank you for your support!
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