Source: Voices for Ohio’s Children
National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) began with a one-day event in Cleveland, OH, and a one-week event in Akron, OH, during February 1941. Since then, the concept has grown from a two-city event into a nationwide program. The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. The single-day observance became a weeklong event in 1955. And in 1981, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as the NCDHM.
This year, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, and Voices for Ohio’s Children have teamed up with the Children’s Oral Health Action Team (COHAT) of Ohio to spread the word about the importance of getting children to see a dentist by their 1st birthday. In spite of advances in pediatric oral health, prevention of tooth decay in young children from infancy is the only way to eliminate this most common disease of childhood. Please join us in raising awareness about the importance of starting early, and making sure your patients and colleagues know that children should see a dentist by 1 so that they can start a lifetime of good oral health when their first tooth erupts.
Effective January 1, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) has amended Administrative Rule (OAC) 5160-4-33 to raise the age for which a non-dental professional (i.e. physician) may be reimbursed for the application of fluoride varnish. Previously, the ODM only provided Medicaid reimbursement to physicians for the application of fluoride varnish with children up to 3. Now, the ODM will provide reimbursement for the application of fluoride varnish in children up to their 6th birthday. This is an important change because we know that fluoride varnish is a vital tool in the prevention of tooth decay in children. Furthermore, it is now recommended by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to be applied to all children up to 6 (not just at risk children) up to two times per year.