West Virginia KIDS COUNT, WVU Medicine Children’s release oral health issue brief

West Virginia KIDS COUNT and WVU Medicine Children’s, in partnership with the Oral Health Coalition of West Virginia, has released an eight-page issue brief that highlights successes and challenges to improving dental care access for children and families in West Virginia.

Too many children in West Virginia are adversely affected by dental cavities, a chronic yet preventable condition that can disrupt academic achievement, sleep, physical development, speech, psycho-social outcomes, and nutrition. By ensuring all children have access to, and availability of, oral healthcare and preventive measures, it allows for the best possible outcomes. We want to make certain all kids experience their optimal oral health, free of the pain, distraction, and expense of untreated dental decay.

Many serious oral health problems can be avoided or mitigated with effective prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment, especially in childhood. According to the West Virginia Oral Health Report Card, this includes several indicators that illustrate the need for continued support for childhood oral health interventions. They are:

  • Children ages 1-2 enrolled in Medicaid who receive a preventive care visit through Medicaid – 12 percent
  • Children ages 1-5 enrolled in Medicaid who received an oral health service from a non-dental provider – .07 percent
  • Third-grade students with dental sealants on permanent molars – 28 percent

West Virginia KIDS COUNT and WVU Medicine Children’s hope that by providing data, information, and necessary resources throughout the state, they can improve the status of children’s oral health in West Virginia.

WVU Medicine Children’s is a proud WV KIDS COUNT Regional Ambassador and works to extend the reach of WV KIDS COUNT into communities across state, empowering local child- and family-serving organizations, community leaders, elected officials, and the media with the data and advocacy tools needed to advance sound, trauma-informed community policy and practice.

All briefs are available on the West Virginia KIDS COUNT website, which also contains the most recent national, state, and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being.