The mouth is the gateway to the health of the rest of the body, but many of our state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents struggle to access dental care. As a result, Colorado is facing a silent epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cavities, which are largely preventable, are the most common chronic illness among U.S. children.
The statistics are grim:
- One in seven Colorado kindergarteners have untreated cavities.
- Children without dental insurance or those insured by Medicaid have more than twice the rate of cavities as commercially/privately insured children.
- According to the CDC, Hispanic children ages 2-8 have double the rate of untreated cavities (26 percent) as non-Hispanic white children (14 percent).
- Eight of Colorado’s 64 counties are classified as dental deserts, meaning they do not have a dentist providing oral health services. Crowley and Kiowa counties are two of those counties. In Otero County, only limited pediatric dental care is available.
Valley-Wide is now working to address these disparities by providing preventive dental services during regular medical visits at our La Junta Clinic.