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Key Issues / Health Coverage and the Uninsured / The Impact of Oral Disease on Colorado's Children

The Impact of Oral Disease on Colorado’s Children

June 1, 2010

In 2007, the prevalence of caries among all third grade students was 57 percent, while the rate for children in low SES schools was 72 percent. In 2005, CDPHE reported that an estimated 7.8 million hours of school were missed annually in Colorado due to acute oral pain and infection among children.8 Moreover, when low-income children experienced oral disease it was likely to be more extensive and severe— almost 12 times the number restricted activity days (days absent from school) due to oral health problems.9
Recognizing the social, economic and health impacts resulting preventable oral disease, the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation board of directors contracted with the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) to conduct an analysis of the costs and outcomes associated with oral health interventions funded on behalf of Colorado’s children. This analysis includes:
 A description of the oral health status of Colorado’s children;
 Estimates of the total amount of public and private dollars expended on oral health care for children in Colorado;
 A comparative analysis of utilization patterns and types of claims paid by Medicaid, the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Delta Dental of Colorado commercial plans; and
 A discussion of evidence-based options for improving the oral health of Colorado’s children.

In 2007, the prevalence of caries among all third grade students in Colorado was 57 percent, while the rate for children in low socio-economic status (SES) schools was 72 percent. In 2005, CDPHE reported that an estimated 7.8 million hours of school were missed annually in Colorado due to acute oral pain and infection among children. Moreover, when low-income children experienced oral disease it was likely to be more extensive and severe— almost 12 times the number restricted activity days (days absent from school) due to oral health problems.

Recognizing the social, economic and health impacts resulting in preventable oral disease, the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation board of directors contracted with the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) to conduct an analysis of the costs and outcomes associated with oral health interventions funded on behalf of Colorado’s children. This analysis includes:

  • A description of the oral health status of Colorado’s children;
  • Estimates of the total amount of public and private dollars expended on oral health care for children in Colorado;
  • A comparative analysis of utilization patterns and types of claims paid by Medicaid, the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Delta Dental of Colorado commercial plans; and
  • A discussion of evidence-based options for improving the oral health of Colorado’s children.

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