Washington children had fewer cavities in 2010

June 14, 2011

By Staff

Children’s pearly whites are getting whiter. Fewer preschoolers from low-income families had cavities in 2010 compared to 2005, according to the 2010 Smile Survey.

The survey also found that more preschoolers from low-income families across Washington are receiving dental care.

The state Department of Health conducts the Smile Survey every five years on children in Head Start, preschool and elementary school.

Among low-income preschoolers, cavities decreased from 46 percent in 2005 to 40 percent in 2010. In more encouraging news, preschoolers’ rate of untreated tooth decay was cut in half from 26 percent to 13 percent during the same period. Untreated tooth decay also declined significantly among third-graders. This is an indication that access to care has increased, according to the survey.

Both private and public entities have stepped forward to make dental healthcare more accessible. Washington’s Apple Health for Kids, which includes dental care, has expanded to more children.

More counties are also linking Medicaid-eligible children up to age 6 to dental care through Access to Baby and Child Dentistry.

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