What You Can Do Now to Keep Kids Healthy…

Madlen Caplow, MPH
Senior Program Officer
MouthMatters – Integrating Oral Health into Medical Care
Arcora Foundation

“As a pediatrician, I have the opportunity to enrich my patients’ health and well-being through education and guidance for their physical and emotional health, including oral health. Parents and patients must see their mouth as integral to their overall health.  As pediatricians, we are instrumental in teaching families how nutrition can affect dental health and about the importance of fluoride and proper brushing to keep teeth healthy and strong.”  Lisa Lee, MD, FAAP  – South Sound Pediatrics

With the COVID-19 pandemic, patients’ oral health is at greater risk. Dental care is only available for urgent and emergency care. Families’ daily routines are upset, money may be in short supply, both of which can lead to unhealthy eating habits and neglect of regular oral hygiene. All of this makes our work as oral health advocates even more important.

Arcora Foundation strongly recommends that all medical professionals integrate oral health education* messages into their practice to remind families about the importance of daily care, good nutrition, and healthy habits. See key messages here.

When tooth decay goes untreated, the consequences can be serious and lifelong. Early childhood caries (ECC) is the leading chronic condition of childhood (4 times more common than early-childhood obesity; 5 times more common than asthma). But through oral health education, you can help inform families on the consequences tooth decay and effective ways to keep up their oral hygiene, even when preventive dental care is unavailable.

*ABCD-trained medical providers can bill MCOs for the Family Oral Health Education 2x/year up to age 6. Use CPT Code 99429 (with modifier DA and modifier CR)—reimbursement $27.58. Note: document length of time for education.  For question about billing or training contact Madlen Caplow mcaplow@arcorafoundation.org[Note: training includes oral exam and fluoride varnish application which also are reimbursed].

For Urgent Dental Problems: Have your patient call their dental office. If they don’t have a regular dentists, direct them to DentistLink. The referral specialists can connect them to resources for urgent dental needs (translation services available). Website: https://dentistlink.org or call/text: 844-888-5465.

For more information on urgent dental problems, see attached (in English and Spanish).