West Virginia KIDS COUNT in partnership with WVU Medicine Children’s releases Oral Health Issue Brief on early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention in early childhood

Improving access for children and families

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia KIDS COUNT and WVU Medicine Children’s, in partnership with the Oral Health Coalition of West Virginia, has released an eight-page issue brief that highlights successes and challenges to improving dental care access for children and families in West Virginia. WV KIDS COUNT logo

Too many children in West Virginia are adversely affected by dental cavities, a chronic yet preventable, condition that can disrupt academic achievement, sleep, physical development, speech, psycho-social outcomes, and nutrition. By ensuring all children have access to, and availability of, oral healthcare and preventive measures, it allows for the best possible outcomes. We want to make certain all kids experience their optimal oral health, free of the pain, distraction, and expense of untreated dental decay.

Many serious oral health problems can be avoided or mitigated with effective prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment, especially in childhood. According to the West Virginia Oral Health Report Card, this includes several indicators that illustrate the need for continued support for childhood oral health interventions.

They are: 

  • Children aged 1-2 enrolled in Medicaid who receive a preventive care visit through Medicaid –12 percent
  • Children ages 1-5 enrolled in Medicaid who received an oral health service from a non-dental provider – .07 percent
  • Third grade students with dental sealants on permanent molars – 28 percent

West Virginia KIDS COUNT and WVU Medicine Children’s hope that by providing data, information, and necessary resources throughout the state, we can improve the status of children’s oral health in West Virginia.

WVU Medicine Children’s is a proud WV KIDS COUNT Regional Ambassador and works to extend the reach of WV KIDS COUNT into communities across state, empowering local child and family serving organizations, community leaders, elected officials, and the media with the data and advocacy tools needed to advance sound, trauma-informed community policy and practice.

All briefs are available on the West Virginia KIDS COUNT website, www.wvkidscount, which also contains the most recent national, state, and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. 

For information about WV KIDS COUNT or other questions regarding this press release, please contact Bobbie Spry at bobbie@wvkidscount.org or Gina Sharps with the WV Oral Health Coalition at sharpsg@marshall.edu. They can also be reached at 304-205-5685. 

West Virginia KIDS COUNT provides trusted data about the well-being of children and builds alliances to advocate for what kids need across the Mountain State. We educate state legislators, public officials, and child advocates with reliable data, policy recommendations, and tools needed to advance sound policies that benefit West Virginia’s children and families. We are a part of a national KIDS COUNT network through the support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation.