Tooth decay is one of the most chronic health issues facing children today. According to the CDC, nearly of quarter of children experience some sort of tooth decay before entering kindergarten. The problem only increases with age, especially among children from lower-income families. More than half of all children, who come from lower-income families, have untreated tooth decay, a preventable health issue that may improve under the Affordable Care Act, as more children are expected to have their dental health needs covered by insurance.
Once the Affordable Care Act is fully enacted and the health insurance exchanges are established next year, oral health experts says we can expect to see two major changes when it comes to children's dental health, one on the Medicaid side of things.
"We expect to see about a 10% increase in children enrollees," said American Dental Association president Dr. Robert Faiella.
And one on the non-Medicaid side of things.
"There is a mandated pediatric benefit for children in that health exchange and we expect to see about a 3 million increase in children enrollees," said Dr. Faiella.
American Dental Association president Dr. Robert Faiella, who is in town celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Corydon Palmer Dental Society, hopes the changes under the Affordable Care Act will have measurable impact. However, he says the change can begin with the providers, like members of the Corydon Palmer Dental Society, who for years have made it a priority to serve those who can't always afford dental care.
"They are a shining example of what one of the local component dental societies should be," said Dr. Faiella.
"If we can start when they are young, I think we could start making a dent into cavities as time goes because parents will do almost anything for their children," said Dr. Donald Brunetti, president of the Corydon Palmer Dental Society.
There are roughly 300 members belonging to the Corydon Palmer Dental Society, one of the most active local, dental societies in the country.