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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

A Healthy Mouth Now, Better Health for a Lifetime

Dental advocates, legislators, oral health providers, students from Rocky Mountain Prep and the tooth fairy herself gathered at the Capitol this morning to recognize the importance of a healthy mouth.

Governor John Hickenlooper has declared February as “Colorado Dental Health Month” in recognition that good oral health is an important ingredient in overall health, especially for children.

Colorado has worked to improve children’s oral health by expanding coverage in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and by offering programs such as Cavity Free at Three. In addition, Colorado has declared oral health one of its 10 winnable battles and is promoting evidence-based strategies such as community water fluoridation and dental sealants.

A brief released today (February 7) from the Colorado Health Institute, Oral Health and Colorado’s Children: A Healthy Mouth Now, Better Health for a Lifetime, provides data from the 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) on dental insurance coverage, oral health status, and regional differences in access to dental care among Colorado’s children.

The findings suggest that dental insurance can address cost barriers to accessing dental care for Colorado’s children and families. And while most Colorado children have good oral health, low income children are more likely to have fair or poor teeth, the two lowest levels.

Resources such as the CHAS are key to measuring progress on how well Colorado is doing on oral health. It can also help policymakers and advocates target their efforts during Colorado Dental Health Month and beyond.