Improving the Oral Health of Children
Good oral health is about more than clean teeth. If your mouth is healthy, you are more likely to be healthier overall.
Since 2000, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio’s Preventive Oral Health Care initiative has helped lay the groundwork for enhancing access to dental care and improved oral health in our 36-county service area. Because the foundation for a healthy mouth is laid during the first years of life, HealthPath has chosen to focus on supporting the oral health of children.
Oral health care is vitally important to the overall well-being of children, but is often neglected. In fact, dental care remains the top unmet health need for Ohio’s children. Left untreated, oral diseases impact school performance, increase health care costs, decrease overall health, affect self-confidence and sociability, and can result in pain, malnutrition, disfigurement, and even death.
To ensure that Ohio’s children ages 0–12 have healthy mouths, HealthPath has selected Cavity-Free Kids as one of our result areas for 2017–2021.
What Influences Oral Health
Access to preventive dental services, personal hygiene, and diet all play a role in good oral health. Good dental habits for children start earlier than most people realize. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children visit the dentist by their first birthday. Other factors that influence good oral health include:
- limited access to dental care providers due to location
- family has no insurance or money to pay for services
- lack of transportation or time to get the child to an appointment
- personal dental hygiene and diet
What HealthPath Will Fund
To help ensure that Ohio’s children ages 0–12 have healthy mouths, HealthPath is offering
funding through three initiatives: Workforce Development, Direct Service, and Community Connections. Learn more about opportunities for funding.
Download this fact sheet to learn more about our work in the Oral Health of Children [PDF].
“With HealthPath's help, we have been able to screen, educate and apply fluoride varnish to almost 15,000 of Ohio's children in a three-year period. We have come a long way and hope to expand the Early Child Oral Health program to all 38 Federally Qualified Health Centers in Ohio."
-Susan L. Lawson, Ohio Association of Community Health Centers