The Children's Dental Health Project's blog
Dreaming big for kids and families
When it comes to oral health, we all have at least one story that sticks with us. Mine is of a dad I’ll call David. CDHP met him years ago at a free dental clinic on the arena floor of the university where he worked. Although he was able to use the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to get his daughter dental care, David did not have access to care for his own oral health needs. He had been in pain for months and was facing a dental bill that would put him behind on his rent.
David’s story struck me both personally and professionally. As a parent, we all put the needs of our children first. We often go to greater lengths to keep our children healthy often before ever considering our own health. But his experience also hit a nerve deep in my bones as an advocate. For two decades, CDHP has been focused on getting dental coverage for all children in this country — a critical goal on which our nation has made great progress. Yet David’s story doesn’t reflect CDHP’s recognition of the impact of parents’ oral health on their children’s future.
How can a family truly reach for their dreams if they have to use today’s rent money on tooth pain?
While we have long known that tooth decay can harm a child’s ability to eat, sleep and learn, CDHP has begun examining how poor oral health can destabilize a family. Data tells us that when parents have dental disease, it can risk a family’s economic security. David’s experience is a case in point: How can a family truly reach for their dreams if they have to use today’s rent money on tooth pain? Why has dental care been inaccessible for this father — especially when the consequences are so great for both him and his daughter?
These are the questions CDHP is tackling as we defend the medical and dental coverage that children have today, and as we explore what systems changes are needed to equally support their parents.
It’s simple: No family should be held back from their dreams because of dental disease.
In the coming weeks, we will be launching our year-end giving campaign that provides the financial support CDHP needs throughout the year to drive this vision forward.
These funds help us stop the immediate threats to children’s health and dental coverage that are happening across the country. Your gifts also enable CDHP to build a path for both parents and children to attain good oral health. We are committed to developing policies that eliminate dental disease as a barrier to families’ health and economic stability.
Dream big with us. Please join us on this path to a better future.
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