The Children's Dental Health Project's blog
Two key goals: Awareness and education
The following guest blog post was written by Heidi Oliver, a Health Program Manager for Utah’s Medicaid agency. This article is part of a week-long blog carnival to recognize Medicaid and CHIP’s importance as an oral health safety net for millions of children.
Last month, hundreds of children received free dental care at a “Give Kids a Smile” event at the University of Utah’s dental clinic. We appreciate the dental professionals who volunteered their time for this, and we recognize that some of these children were seeing a dentist for the first time ever. It’s likely that at least some of the kids are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP dental coverage but may not be enrolled.
Let’s make sure families know that dental coverage is a basic part of Medicaid/CHIP.
We all can play roles in raising awareness among parents and caregivers whose children might be eligible. As a Health Program Manager for Utah’s Medicaid agency I want to encourage parents (wherever they live) to find out if they are eligible to get dental coverage for their children and themselves. After all, there is a lot at stake for their children’s health. Utah families might be shocked to know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of early childhood. Let’s make sure families know that dental coverage is a basic part of Medicaid/CHIP.
Let’s also encourage families to regularly seek preventive dental care. It can pay dividends to help parents recognize that they can take simple steps to help protect their children’s teeth. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has two handouts for parents that share helpful oral health tips. Both of CMS’s Think Teeth handouts are available in English and Spanish, and they can be ordered in large quantities for free. They’re great for distribution at medical or dental clinics, community health centers and other settings.
Utah Medicaid will be working with community partners as part of CMS’ Oral Health Initiative to distribute a variety of materials dedicated to improving oral health for children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.
If your organization works with families or children, spread these materials to emphasize why it’s important for parents to “think teeth.”
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