Children's Dental Policy

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Dental care is one of the greatest unmet needs among children. The latest data from 2014 show that more than 18 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. 

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Something to Smile About

Lack of dental treatment can lead to serious health problems. But new practitioners in Minnesota...

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Our Work

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  • Improving Dental Care Access in Rural America

    Rural communities face serious challenges to oral health, resulting in a high incidence of cavities and other dental problems Compared to people in urban settings, rural residents are poorer and less likely to have dental insurance. Their communities are less likely to have fluoridated water, and they often have to travel long distances to find a dentist. Read More

  • Expanding Access Through Midlevel Dental Providers

    The following op-ed, written by Jane Koppelman, Pew’s research director for children’s dental policy, was published in Perspectives on Dental Hygiene, a supplement to the November 2015 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. The piece summarizes Pew’s efforts to expand access to dental care. Read More

  • Medicaid Recipients Still Lack Dental Care

    A recent American Dental Association (ADA) brief provides new data showing that having dental insurance does not necessarily translate into access to care. The report, which offers new state-level information on Medicaid dental use among adults in 21 states, finds that in 2013, relatively few of those with Medicaid coverage received dental care, ranging from 40 percent in Minnesota to just 13... Read More

Working With Midlevel Providers

Dentists share their perspectives on these practitioners.

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Media Contact

Michelle Mendes

Senior Associate, Communications