Massachusetts fulfills six of the eight policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs. The increase can be attributed to sealant programs now reaching more than one-quarter of high-risk schools. Additionally, a new law allows hygienists in school-based programs to place sealants on children's teeth without a dentist's prior exam.
In early 2011, the U.S. District Court ended five years of oversight of Massachusetts' Medicaid program, citing improvements that the state has made.1 The court recognized that in 2009, over half of the state's Medicaid-enrolled children received a dental service. However, in 2010, fiscal pressures prompted the state to eliminate most adult dental coverage.2 Research shows that when parents who go without care, their children are also less likely to see a dentist.3
1. K. Lazar, “Court bows out of dental program for low-income children,” Boston Globe (February 3, 2011). http://www.boston.com/news/health/blog/2011/02/court_bows_out.html (accessed February 15, 2011).
2. MassHealth Fact Sheet – FY11 H.2, “Adult Dental Coverage Restructuring,” http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/masshealth/research/fy11h2-dental-factsheet.pdf (accessed December 10, 2010).
3. “Children More Likely to Visit the Dentist If Their Parents Do, Too,” ScienceDaily, (February 16. 2010). http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201091634.htm (accessed April 2011).