Children's Dental Policy

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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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  • National Dental Therapy Accreditation Standards Go Into Effect

    On Aug. 7, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)—the nation’s accrediting body for academic dental programs—voted to implement national standards for dental therapy training programs, marking a turning point in the growth of the dental therapy profession. After three years of evaluation, the commission determined that the criteria needed to move forward with the... Read More

  • Medicare and Medicaid: A Half-Century of Progress

    July 30 marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare and Medicaid. Over the past five decades, these two landmark programs have provided health care for millions of Americans. But they have also been changed and improved in ways that expand access, increase quality, and control costs. This process will continue in... Read More

  • Inefficient Medicaid Spending for Dental Care

    Medicaid marks its 50th anniversary at the end of July. But for many of the approximately 70 million adults and children relying on the program, Medicaid coverage does not translate into being able to get oral health care. Medicaid resources could be spent more efficiently and health outcomes would improve if patients received dental care when they needed it. Read More

Working With Midlevel Providers

Dentists share their perspectives on these practitioners.

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Media Contact

Michelle Mendes

Senior Associate, Communications

202.540.6816