You’re never fully dressed without a smile (and a healthy smile at that), but there are too many children in Ohio not getting dental care.
On April 21st, 2021 the latest map of counties funded by the Ohio Department of Health for preventing oral diseases with dental sealants was released. This map differs from the 2020 version as there are more than a dozen fewer counties currently receiving funding. In 2020, 44 Ohio counties were receiving services at qualifying schools to receive dental sealants for students who needed them. 2021’s map currently contains 31 counties.
Child-related Dental Objectives
The 2021-2022 Ohio Oral Health Plan has a goal to include a curriculum for oral health in schools since it is the only state out of all 50 that has not passed it as a standard. The curriculum can be added into current core subjects such as health, science, and English. Their goals are to teach students (and their parents) from kindergarten through 12th-grade oral health vocabulary, skills, knowledge, and habits for healthy teeth and have the Ohio Department of Education include it in its teaching standards. This objective may prove to be good timing as Ohio has been discussing adding content to the curriculum for sexual abuse prevention, which was proposed in April. In March 2021 the Ohio Legislature approved updates to the SAFE act that by 2024, 6th-12th graders receive education for mental health awareness including depression, suicide, self-injury and social inclusion.
Another goal of the Ohio Oral Health Plan is to increase the number of school-based health centers to help families gain access to convenient dental assistance. The plan suggests these health centers will allow parents to stay at work while their child sees the in-school health center. It will also increase school attendance as students will not miss the whole morning or afternoon for an appointment.
- Tooth decay can be prevented!
- Dental sealants are able to prevent the most prevalent type of tooth decay in kids.
- Ohio Department of Health reported in 2019, “48% of school-aged children have a history of tooth decay and 20% have untreated cavities.”
- American Dental Association has numerous resources to explore as they launched Mouth Healthy which is informative for families.
Smile About School-based dental Sealant Program
- Targets schools where 40% or more of students are eligible for Ohio’s Free & Reduced-price Meals Program
- Treats students in 2nd and 6th grade
- Checks sealants of those that were applied the following year (3rd and &7th graders)
- Dental hygienists and teams bring in equipment to apply sealant
- In 2019, about 19,000 students received sealants on their teeth
According to Ohio Medicaid 2019 Assessment Survey, “139,631 children ages 18 and younger who could not get the dental care they need.”
More Options for Dental Help
- Medicaid available for-
- Insured or uninsured children in families with income up to 156% of the federal poverty level
- Pregnant women in families with income up to 200% of the federal poverty level
- Families with children under 19 with income up to 90% of the federal poverty level could qualify for Healthy Families program
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) available for uninsured children in families with income up to 206% of the federal poverty level
- Dental OPTIONS program (currently on hold due to COVID)
- Visiting a Safety Net Dental Clinic
Safety Net Dental Clinics
- For folks who have no regular dentist
- Have Medicaid
- Unable to pay for dental treatment out of pocket
- Do not have affordable dental insurance
- View the full list of 176 Safety Net Dental Clinics for Ohio here.
Stark County’s 4 Safety Net Dental Clinics:
Lifecare Family Dental Center 330-454-2000
2725 Lincoln St. E Canton, OH 44707
1320 Mercy Drive NW Canton, OH 44708
Mercy Dental Services at St. Paul Square 330-588-4893
1459 Superior Ave. NE Canton, OH 44705
6200 Frank Ave. NW Canton, OH 44720
204 S. Bellevue Ave. Dover, OH 44622
9th Street Dental Center 419-289-1430
431 E. Ninth Street Ashland, OH 44805
Ashland County Dental Clinic 419-289-4957
1027 E. Main St. Ashland, OH 44805
If the dentist has not been scheduled on your family calendar in the past 6 months, it’s time for a checkup and cleaning. You’re never fully dressed without a smile. Oral health is just as important as mental health, and physical health. Children 2 and over would benefit to have their teeth taken care for professionals of even though their baby teeth fall out, it is still important to keep their baby teeth and gums clean.