Children's Dental Policy

Dental care is one of the greatest unmet needs among children. The latest data from 2013 show that nearly 16 million low-income children went without care. Pew’s work on children’s dental issues promotes cost-effective policies that expand access to dental care  so that millions more children receive the treatment they need to grow, learn, and lead healthy lives. 

Our research and advocacy efforts focus on several efficient, cost-effective strategies:

  • Expanding the number of professionals who can provide high-quality dental care to low-income children.
  • Ensuring that coverage from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program leads to real care.
  • Expanding access to fluoridated water.
  • Expanding programs that provide dental sealants so that all children who need them receive them. 

States Stalled on Dental Sealant Programs

States are slow to adopt policies to expand dental sealant programs in schools

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Our Work

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  • Community Water Fluoridation

    To maximize the oral health benefits of community water fluoridation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on April 27 standardized the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water nationally to a single level—0.7 milligrams per liter—rather than the range of 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L) that had been in place. Read More

  • HHS Fluoride Announcement Demonstrates Commitment to Dental Health

    The Pew Charitable Trusts applauds the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its recommendation, announced today, that the level of fluoride in drinking water be set to a uniform level (0.7 mg/liter) throughout the nation.  Read More

  • States Stalled on Dental Sealant Programs

    In 2013, the Pew children’s dental campaign released a report evaluating all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performance in sealing the teeth of low-income children. This follow-up report describes whether states have progressed on this goal over the last two years, with analysis based on surveys of dental directors and state dental boards. Read More

Working With Midlevel Providers

Dr. Frank Catalanotto

Media Contact

Michelle Mendes

Senior Associate, Communications