Child and Youth Dental Care

The goal of the WVOHC concerning dental care for children and youths is to develop state and local policy which supports oral health prevention and a dental home for every child in WV which aligns with the State Plan, mission and goals of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Oral Health Advisory Board (WVDHHR-OHAB) and the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition (WVOHC).

Issues include:

• Children and adolescents with Medicaid dental coverage were more likely to experience tooth decay than those with CHIP or private insurance (2012-2013)
• 56% of 3rd graders experienced tooth decay (2013-2014)
• 21% of 3rd graders had untreated cavities (2013-2014)
• 19% of children and adolescents had dental sealants on their permanent molar teeth (2013-2014)

 

Challenges

  • Access to Care: Poor access to standardized, comprehensive, timely, continuous oral health services in a rural, underserved state with high poverty levels with dental providers offering care during day time school hours only with limited Medicaid patients.
  • Education: Limited educational opportunities and experiences for the public, health professionals, and policy-makers to increase knowledge of oral health and its correlation to overall health.
  • Prevention: The high disparities, lack of funding to support the needs, rural topography and lack of dental provides has placed WV in an oral health crisis mode instead of prevention and health promotion.
  • Surveillance & Evaluation: WV has just developed a statewide surveillance system to measure key indicators of oral health and must share the surveillance data widely to inform others of needs and gaps.
  • Infrastructure & Strategic Partnerships: At this time oral health has limited involvement from multiple stakeholders and agencies outside of state and dental providers making the outreach and vision less comprehensive without capitalizing on the opportunity to expand partnerships.

Solutions (Per the 2016-2020 WV OH Plan 2.0_FINAL)
Access to Care
Goal 1: Improve access to standardized, comprehensive, continuous oral health services and eliminate disparities for all West Virginians.
Education
Goal 2: Promote educational opportunities and experiences for the public, health professionals, and policy-makers to increase knowledge of oral health and its correlation to overall health.
Prevention
Goal 3: Provide sustainable maintenance of oral wellness through coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive services.
Surveillance & Evaluation
Goal 4: Enhance the utilization of the existing statewide surveillance system to measure key indicators of oral health, and to expand the system to address other elements in data gaps.
Infrastructure & Strategic Partnerships
Goal 5: Solicit, develop, and nurture relationships with other organizations and associations to enhance oral health information and knowledge, as well as to capitalize on unique strengths and resources.

Initiatives