New multi-generational effort for oral health

By: Meg Booth

Dental coverage for children, especially children in underserved communities, has been a primary focus for Children’s Dental Health Project over the course of our 20 years. In fact, as a result of our efforts and the partnerships we’ve been able to build, 90 percent of children now have dental coverage. But, for us, dental coverage alone is not enough. We know that a child’s oral health and long-term success depend on many other factors. That’s why this week, CDHP is announcing a new initiative to explore policy solutions that address oral health within the context of the family and the many barriers to family well-being.

Rest assured, in what seems like an especially unpredictable policy environment, CDHP will not lose focus on protecting the coverage we have fought so hard for. This new initiative means we are also beginning to look bigger (literally bigger!). Parents and caregivers have greater barriers to dental coverage and care than the children they care for. Additionally, parents’ oral health has broader implications for family success beyond just their own health.

In this new video, we discuss a new and exciting exploration into the impact of the oral health of parents and caregivers on family outcomes.

"We want to take a closer look at what opportunities we create (or miss) when we address the oral health of the entire family."

We have always believed that coverage is just a plastic card unless it creates the incentives to prevent and manage disease because good health is a gateway to opportunity. Now we want to take a closer look at what opportunities we create (or miss) when we address the oral health of the entire family. At this early stage, we are focused on the intersection of oral health and:

  • the economic stability of families
  • family stressors and/or mental health
  • children’s educational outcomes, and
  • more that we have yet to discover

This is the starting point to help us uncover policy solutions that could support the integration of oral health into models, communities, and programs that put all families on the path to well-being and success, recognizing that oral health is a critical factor in achieving this vision.

This is where you come in. CDHP is new to the bigger frame of family success, 2Gen approaches, whole family interventions, etc. In fact, we aren’t even sure what to call it, and we know we need to learn more about the role of oral health in these models. We don’t claim to have all the answers. However, we are opening our doors to new and exciting partnerships to both offer our knowledge and experience on oral health and to learn from many of you that have been working on these broader issues for decades. We truly want to join you, learn from you, and challenge you to think about the role of oral health in your current work.

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Did you know?

44% }
of U.S. children will have at least one cavity by kindergarten.
More on the state of dental health ›