Kids have reason to smile

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:15 PM

On Tuesday, about 64,000 children in Ottawa, Ingham and Washtenaw counties were automatically enrolled into the state’s Healthy Kids Dental program. The program is available for Medicaid beneficiaries under 21 years old.

The Healthy Kids Dental program is administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Delta Dental insurance company. It covers examinations, teeth cleaning, X-rays, emergency treatment, root canals, complete or partial dentures, extractions, space maintainers, fluoride treatments, crowns and sealants.

If a participant would like other services, they must pay for it themselves.

There are now just five counties in the state not included in the program: Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne. Sarina Gleason — senior public relations officer for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana — said the goal is to eventually expand the program into the remaining five counties, but it depends on the state’s budget.

To use the Healthy Kids Dental program, families must go to a dental care provider who accepts it. According to Delta Dental, 80 percent of the dentists who treat children participate in the program.

The state’s MIChild program also provides health and dental care for children under the age of 18, and has a family premium of $10 a month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 25 percent of children ages 2-5 and 50 percent of those age 12-15 suffer from tooth decay or untreated cavities. Throughout the country, about 51 million school hours are lost each year because of dental disease.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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