Improving Oral Health
We have been making considerable progress in our efforts to ensure that low-income children have access to oral health care. From 2007 to 2011, almost half of all states (24) achieved at least a ten percentage point increase in the proportion of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP that received a preventive dental service during the reporting year. Yet, tooth decay remains one of the most common preventable chronic childhood diseases. Tooth decay can cause significant pain, loss of school days and can lead to infections and even death. To advance continued improvements, we continue to provide and promote dental coverage, and we are ramping up our efforts to educate consumers, health care providers and the public about positive oral health practices.
All children covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have coverage for dental services – including teeth cleanings, check-ups, x-rays, fluoride, dental sealants, fillings and more. Check out a complete listing of dental health benefits for children in Medicaid and CHIP.
Use our online tool to help families find a dentist nearby who accepts Medicaid or CHIP. Click here, then click on your state and then on “Find Dental Providers.”
Oral Health Education Materials
Starting good oral health habits during pregnancy, and maintaining them after delivery, can have lasting positive effects for new moms and babies.
It is critical for pregnant women, parents and others who care for children to understand how to achieve the best oral health for themselves and their children. The materials, below, were designed to help improve oral health literacy and highlight oral health tips for expectant mothers and parents of young children.
- Order these material at no cost by following these steps:
- Visit CMS’ Product Ordering Website at productordering.cms.hhs.gov to set up an account.
- Mention “Connecting Kids to Coverage” on the registration form in the “Why I Need Access” field.
- Add firstname.lastname@example.org as a safe sender and wait for an account confirmation email before trying to place an order. Check junk or spam folders if a confirmation is not received within 24 hours.
- Order the oral health materials by product number:
- CMS Product No. 11664-E/S: Double-Sided Oral Health Tear Pad in English and Spanish (Messages for pregnant women. Designed for health care providers to share with patients.)
- CMS Product No. 11665 (English) and 11665-S (Spanish): Oral Health 11x17 Inch Poster (Messages for parents and caregivers of children under age 3)
- CMS Product No. 11666-E/S: Double-Sided Oral Health 8.5x11 Inch Flyer in English and Spanish (Messages for parents and caregivers of children under age 3)
Materials are shipped directly out by the CMS Warehouse for free. Please allow approximately 2 weeks for delivery.
- Oral Health Flyer (Messages for parents and caregivers of children under age 3)
Note: The poster (CMS Product No. 11665) and flyer (CMS Product No. 11666) contain the same content and images, but have been printed in different sizes.
- Oral Health Tear Pad (Messages for pregnant women. Designed for health care providers to share with patients.)
- Oral Health Tear Pad (Messages for children of all ages. Designed for health care providers to share with patients.)
- Oral Health Web Buttons and Banners (Link web traffic to the Insure Kids Now Dental Health page by using these web banners and buttons. Each .zip folder includes three standard web banner and button sizes, as well as posting instructions.)
- Tools to help promote oral health education materials (Contains messages for health care providers and organizations that interact with pregnant women, parents and caregivers of children under age 3 to share.)
- Template Newsletter Articles for Parents and Caregivers
- Template Newsletter Article for General Audiences (Can be used in February as part of National Children's Dental Health Month or throughout the year. The article includes messages for children of all ages.)
- Social Media Posts
- Tips for using oral health education materials
- Webinar on oral health education
- If you are interested in the science behind the messages in the oral health education materials.
Dental Health Care Access Improvement Goals
CMS is committed to improving dental health care access for children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. We have launched an Oral Health Initiative and set goals for improvement by FY 2015. To achieve those goals, we have adopted a national oral health strategy through which we are working diligently with states and federal partners, as well as the dental provider community, children’s advocates and other stakeholders to improve children’s access to dental care.