Dental care for children improves, but adults lag behind

The picture for child dental care is improving, according to a new study, but at the same time adult care is falling behind.

It is a disturbing trend for adults, who are seeing less dental coverage in the private arena and much less public coverage than children.

Findings are from a new state-by-state analysis of dental trends by the American Dental Health Association’s Health Policy Institute. The complete report can be found here.

Financial barriers to dental care are increasing among adults, while for children they are much lower and have not increased over time. Expanded dental benefits coverage for children, mainly through Medicaid and the Children Health Insurance Program, and decreased dental benefits coverage among adults have also played key roles.

According to the American Association of Health Care Journalists website, the report notes that even though access to dental care is on the rise among children, there are still problems in poorer neighborhoods.

The lack of care has had serious oral health consequences for poor beneficiaries who often face elevated risk for disease, and at the same time are more likely to go without treatment.

In nearly all states and the District of Columbia, Medicaid dental visits by children increased between 2005 and 2013, according to the study.