Provider collaboration can help expand access to oral health services to prevent tooth decay, one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the U.S.
Benevis, a leading dental healthcare and orthodontics delivery organization committed to providing quality care to underserved communities, announced today a call to action for primary care physicians and clinicians across the care continuum to join forces to help families establish dental homes for Children's Dental Health Month. Oral health is an essential part of an individual's whole health, which is why a dental home—the ongoing relationship a child or family establishes with a dental provider, much like the one they have with their primary care doctor—is vital.
The need to help eliminate oral disease in U.S. children is dire. Cavities, also called tooth decay, are one of the most significant unmet health treatment needs, with over 52% of children having tooth decay by age eight and 25% having at least one cavity by four years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For disadvantaged patient populations such as children with Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute research found that 49% did not visit the dentist last year. To improve this care gap and prevent the early onset of dental disease, oral health should be integrated with primary care services for lifelong health.
"Research has proven that poor oral health has long-term health consequences as well as immense financial implications for Americans. Benevis works to help children form relationships with dental providers earlier in life to better a child's ability to receive the benefits of preventive care and help avoid oral disease," explained Bryan Carey, CEO, Benevis. "Tooth decay is preventable through the practice of good oral health and education, which is why teaching dental hygiene is a critical component of Benevis' care delivery model."
Dr. Jane Whang, Regional Director of Clinical at Benevis, emphasized the importance of early intervention, stating, "I see firsthand the impact of preventive care on a child's oral health. Establishing a dental home early allows us to educate families on proper oral hygiene, leading to healthier smiles and better overall well-being."
Benevis recommends that primary care providers help their patients and families secure a dental home by the age of one to keep their mouth and teeth healthy through regular dental visits. In its 100 dental home offices, Benevis will honor Children's Dental Health Month by providing patients and their communities with educational resources on the significance of good oral hygiene to protect primary teeth. To provide patients with tips for healthy teeth, all dental offices will share the Children's Dental Health Month infographics, which can be viewed here.
To help support primary care providers in their daily practices with patients’ oral health, Benevis created a Dental Home Physician Playbook. The guide includes oral risk assessments and checklists for clinicians and educational resources for patients. To review the materials, please click here.