Oral health is a part of overall health and practicing proper dental health techniques at an early age is important, which is why Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin recognizes National Children’s Dental Health Month each February.

Every year, nearly 100,000 Wisconsin Medicaid children under the age of 5 visit a physician, but not a dentist. The implications of this are clear: more than half of Wisconsin children experience dental disease by age 9, and school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. The Alliance is working to reduce these numbers, though.

Wisconsin recently passed legislation to allow dental hygienists to work in medical settings such as a doctor’s office. So when a child visits a doctor, they can also receive preventative dental care. Children can receive dental care in school, too, through the Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile program

Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile helps prevent 80 percent of cavities in back teeth, which is where 9 in 10 cavities occur. Sign up your child to receive dental sealants and other preventive services at school. If your school does not have a Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile program, encourage the school to participate.

Children’s teeth are also protected through tap water. For 75 years, communities have been fluoridating their water which helps keep everybody’s teeth healthy and strong. Fluoridated water prevents cavities in both adults and children by nearly 25 percent, which saves money by preventing would-be dental care. For every dollar spent on fluoridated water, nearly $20 is saved by preventing a trip to the dentist.

Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical and dental professionals. The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service and World Health Organization all recommend community water fluoridation. Learn more about community water fluoridation here.

Visit the Oral Health website to learn more about how the Alliance works to advocate for children’s dental health and follow the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter to see how we are celebrating National Children’s Dental Health month!