The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.
The Pew children's dental campaign is working to ensure that more children receive dental care and benefit from policies proven to prevent tooth decay.
We are mounting a national campaign to raise awareness of the problem, recruit influential leaders to call for change, and showcase states that have made progress and can serve as models for pragmatic, cost-effective reform. Our advocacy efforts are targeted at states where policy changes can dramatically improve children’s lives.
The problems affecting children’s dental health are severe. Dental care is the single greatest unmet need for health services among children. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, affecting nearly 60 percent of children. For some it’s getting worse—between 1994 and 2004 it increased by 15 percent among kids aged two to five. Eighty percent of dental disease in children is concentrated in 25 percent of kids and children from poor families face disproportionately high barriers to getting care. The consequences can be devastating to those from low-income and minority households.
Some problems may be intractable. This one is not. Working in concert with lawmakers and other government officials, dental providers, national, state and local organizations, researchers, advocates and the private sector, Pew can help millions of kids maintain healthy teeth —making it possible for young children to thrive in school and become healthy, productive adults.
What We DoThe Pew children's dental campaign works on four efficient, cost-effective solutions:
About the DirectorRead more about the initiative's director, Shelly Gehshan.
Jul 31, 2012 - This white paper from the Pew Children's Dental Campaign investigates how the addition of dental therapists to the dental team may expand the capacity of Federally Qualified Health Clinics to treat more children.
View: Full Report (Adobe PDF)
Feb 28, 2012 - A new report finds that already stressed state budgets are shouldering an extra burden to cover expensive emergency room treatment for avoidable dental ailments and concludes that states can reduce hospital visits, strengthen oral health and reduce their costs by making modest investments to improve access to preventive care.
May 23, 2011 - The Pew Children’s Dental Campaign works with states to improve access to care and reach more children with proven forms of prevention.
Feb 17, 2011 - The issue brief "Two Kinds of Dental Shortages Fuel One Major Access Problem" by the Pew Children's Dental Campaign highlights the lack of access to dental care. Each year, an estimated 17 million children in the U.S. go without basic dental care. As a result, these kids miss more days of school and see their overall health suffer.
Dec 06, 2010 - A new report from the Pew Center on the States finds that most private-practice dentists who hire new types of dental providers can improve or maintain their financial bottom line while serving more patients, including more Medicaid enrollees.
Sep 20, 2010 - The Minnesota Story is a new brief from the Pew Children's Dental Health campaign which explains how children’s and public health advocates in Minnesota campaigned successfully for a law to increase children’s access to dental care. The new law is likely to ensure that dental care will reach many kids who are underserved and is the first step in efforts that could gain traction across the country.
Jun 29, 2010 - Dental care is the greatest unmet need for health services among children. A new brief from Pew Center on the States surveys the remarkable impact that one program in Washington state made in confronting dental disease among Medicaid-insured children under age six.
Feb 23, 2010 - States play a key role in ensuring that low-income children have access to basic, preventive dental care. A new report, The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children, finds that two-thirds of states are doing a poor job.
May 28, 2009 - A policy brief and report explain the options and give states the tools they need as they consider new and creative ways to deliver quality dental services to people who need them.
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