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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 348237, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/348237
Review Article

Early Childhood Caries and the Impact of Current U.S. Medicaid Program: An Overview

1Division of Management, Policy and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the U.S., Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh 11153, Saudi Arabia

Received 17 November 2011; Accepted 25 December 2011

Academic Editor: Ali I. Abdalla

Copyright © 2012 Bussma Ahmed Bugis. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Pediatric dental caries is the most common chronic disease among children. Above 40% of the U.S. children aged 2–11 years have dental caries; more than 50% of them come from low-income families. Under dental services of the Medicaid program, children enrolled in Medicaid must receive preventive dental services. However, only 1/5 of them utilize preventive dental services. The purpose of this overview is to measure the impact of Medicaid dental benefits on reducing oral health disparities among Medicaid-eligible children. This paper explains the importance of preventive dental care, children at high risk of dental caries, Medicaid dental benefits, utilization of dental preventive services by Medicaid-eligible children, dental utilization influencing factors, and outcome evaluation of Medicaid in preventing dental caries among children. In conclusion, despite the recent increase of children enrolled in Medicaid, utilizing preventive dental care is still a real challenge that faces Medicaid.