Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among American children – even though it is nearly 100% preventable.
• 28 percent of children ages two to five have already experienced tooth decay
• By age 11, 49 percent of children have experienced tooth decay
• Only 21 percent of dentists in Colorado accept Medicaid patients. And then, only 16 percent will accept new patients.
Governor John Hickenlooper has named oral health as one of the top three winnable battles in health for Colorado over the next five years.
To help with this “winnable” area, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation helped start Cavity Free at Three. Cavity Free at Three is a statewide effort to improve oral health outcomes for Colorado children.
Cavity Free at Three was started and is funded by a cross section of Colorado health care influencers: Caring for Colorado Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and Rose Community Foundation.
“This collaboration is significant because all of these foundations invest in health in Colorado, but for some, this was the first time they invested in oral health,” said Colleen Lampron, Senior Program Officer, DDCO Foundation. “Now all of the health funders in our state are oral health funders.”
The program began as a training program for health care providers in 2007. To date almost 1,600 health care providers have been trained in the Cavity Free at Three model. They work with pregnant women and very young children to prevent dental disease early in life. In addition, Cavity Free at Three was successful in getting reimbursement for physicians to provide a dental preventive visit for children on Medicaid.