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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

5 Reasons We Are Celebrating CHIP’s 10- Year Extension this National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Michelle Loo

Along with celebrating Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year this February we are also elevating kids' oral health for National Children’s Dental Health Month! There is a lot to celebrate when funding for CHIP was extended for the next 10 years, and here’s why the Oral Health For All team at Families USA is stoked!  

  1. CHIP offers coverage to nearly 9 million children as one of the country’s only health insurance programs designed for low-income families and children – and it includes dental coverage!

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  2. DID YOU KNOW: Tooth decay is a DISEASE! In fact, it’s the most common early childhood chronic disease. It’s 2 to 3x more common than asthma or obesity! Because of systemic barriers to health care and healthy lifestyles, children of color have higher rates of tooth decay. CHIP helps to address this widespread disease!

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  3. Kids with poor oral health are nearly 3x more likely to miss school and about 4x more likely to earn below-average grades. It’s clear that oral health impacts eating, sleeping, and learning. Can you imagine trying to learn multiplication while having the worst toothache that probably kept you up all night and made it hard to eat breakfast too? CHIP keeps kids healthy and in school!

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  4. Silly Rabbit - CHIP is for kids! And pregnant people! More than 300,000 pregnant people are covered by CHIP through their pregnancy, which is important because a birth giver's oral health is a strong predictor of their children's oral health.

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  5. Sometimes we want to believe otherwise, but children grow up to be adults! Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented. Early prevention is cost-effective. Poor oral health in adulthood impacts overall health, employment, and more.

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As more and more children have gained dental coverage in recent decades through CHIP and Medicaid, the rate of untreated tooth decay has fallen among children, even among children growing up in low-income households! So let’s keep getting kids’ dental covered!

The 10-year CHIP extension is great – BUT, we still have more work to do!

Millions of Americans still do not have access to oral health coverage. For children, adults, and seniors, not having access to dental coverage is a huge barrier to health and well-being. We need to keep pushing to expand coverage! Follow #NCDHM on Twitter to learn more about National Children’s Dental Health Month!

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