Cause for concern
One in three Wisconsin children are living with untreated dental decay, the most preventable chronic disease in the United States. Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are twice as likely to have unmet dental needs. In addition, disproportionate levels of access to oral health care exist in minority and low-income populations. Nationally, 80% of dental decay affects 20% of children.
Since 1997, the Alliance has been a leader in the oral health access movement in Wisconsin. The Alliance continues to facilitate the ongoing efforts of needs assessment, coalition building, program development and policy development to increase access and improve oral health care for children and families.
The Alliance facilitates the Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition, which consists of over 130 organizations and individual members. The Alliance also has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to administer the Wisconsin state Seal-A-Smile program, which provides grants for school-based and school-linked dental sealant programs.
The Alliance administers Earlier Is Better, a parent oral health education program for children and pregnant women in Wisconsin Early Head Start (EHS) programs. The goal of Earlier Is Better is to reduce the dental caries experience of Wisconsin EHS children by training home visitors to provide oral health education to EHS parents/caregivers and pregnant women.