Cost Effectiveness of Preventive Dental Services

Cost Effectiveness of Preventive Dental Services

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, and low-income children are two to three times more likely to have it go untreated. Eventually they wind up in hospital emergency rooms, where the cost of care is ten times greater than in a dental office. The Children's Dental Health Project policy brief Cost Effectiveness of Preventive Dental Services (2 pages, PDF) emphasizes the need for children's dental services to remain in the Medicaid program, even as federal budget cuts threaten to erode them. Children with private and public dental coverage, including Medicaid, are significantly more likely to have regular dental care than uninsured children, and parents of children covered by Medicaid are 3.5 times less likely than parents of uninsured children to report that their child has an unmet dental need.