Cost-Effective Investments in Children's Oral Health

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In Colorado, 2,198 children under age 6 were treated for dental disease in hospital operating rooms in 2009 to fix their rotten teeth, at a cost of $8,234,210 to Medicaid. In 2010, more than 115,000 dental hospital visits in Florida carried a price tag of $88 million, with about one-third of the visits paid by Medicaid.   According to the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, in 2009, more than 800,000 ER visits across the country related to preventable dental conditions, a 16 percent increase from 2006.  Driven by access issues, these ER visits impose significant costs on already troubled state budgets. Listen to the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign and state leaders discuss examples of investments in children’s oral health and areas for significant cost savings. 

NCSL gratefully acknowledges support from the Pew Children's Dental Campaign.

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PowerPoint Presentation


  • Senator Judy Lee, North Dakota


  • Shelly Gehshan, project director, Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, Pew Center on the States
  • Katya Mauritson, DMD, MPH(c), director, Oral Health Unit, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

System Requirements

PC-based attendees required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Mac®-based attendees required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet