February is National Children's Dental Health Month! Think Teeth!

January 30, 2014

National Children's Dental Health Month provides a great opportunity to promote enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for eligible children and teens. Contact the American Dental Association (ADA) to identify National Children's Dental Health Month activities planned this month in your community and share CMS' oral health materials with families. Parents should know that by enrolling their children in Medicaid or CHIP, they can get routine preventive dental care such as teeth cleanings, check-ups, x-rays, fluoride treatments and dental sealants plus dental treatment such as fillings. In a 2011 CMS national survey, 68 percent of parents said "access to dental benefits" was a top motivator for enrolling their children in Medicaid and CHIP.

Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children in the U.S. – and it can be prevented! That's why the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign is committed to providing health care professionals, health program administrators, schools, community organizations and others information about how to improve children's dental health at the same time we work to boost enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. Our "Think Teeth!" materials, including flyers, tear pads, web buttons and more will help you spread the word about the importance of dental health for children and teens and includes eligibility information. To get started, visit the InsureKidsNow dental health page and download, order for free or customize dental health outreach materials. The page also features the latest tear pad that focuses on the need to foster positive oral health practices at every age and a drop-in article in English and Spanish. Additionally the ADA has a variety fun kid-friendly activity sheets and other tools which can be incorporated into outreach and enrollment events. And visit our webinar page to view our September 26, 2013 "Think Teeth: New Developments in Medicaid and Children's Oral Health" webinar.

Here are a few ways you can use the Connecting Kids to Coverage oral health materials for National Children's Dental Health Month and throughout the year:

  1. Distribute materials at schools, pharmacies, doctor's offices and health clinics. Let parents know that regular dental care is a necessary part of keeping their children and teens healthy. Display materials in waiting rooms, in literature racks, at the front desk and in exam rooms. Encourage staff to discuss the information with patients.
  2. Provide materials to patients during dental visits. Ask dentists to give the flyer or a tear pad page to patients at the end of their appointment. There is room on the tear pad to write additional notes such as a provider's contact information or recommended oral health care products.
  3. Share materials through social media. Post a link to the materials on your website, blog or Facebook page. Encourage your followers and partners to share and re-post the information. You can use our National Children's Dental Health Month drop-in article to convey information through blog posts or eNewsletters. For those who Tweet, join CMS' oral health discussion in February using the hashtags #ThinkTeeth or #dentalisfundamental.
  4. Share materials with your professional networks and beyond. Email links to the materials through your listserv along with instructions on how to download, order or customize them (available on the Connecting Kids to Coverage dental health page). Encourage others to share them at outreach events, or display them in community centers, schools or local businesses.

We want to hear from you!

Have you implemented outreach and enrollment activities around oral health? Do you have other outreach ideas or success stories to share? Please email ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov. We may feature your organization in a future Campaign Notes eNewsletter.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign Notes eNewsletter offers quick outreach and enrollment tips throughout the year. If a friend or colleague forwarded this email to you, you can sign up to receive this eNewsletter directly to your inbox. You can also follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-tweet or share our messages with your network.

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