Kentucky Oral Health Coalition is dedicated to advancing oral health literacy among all Kentuckians. This year, we partnered with the Kentucky Beverage Association to learn more about parents’ beliefs and knowledge about oral health care for their children. KOHC hosted three focus groups in March 2020 with parents from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and West Louisville to talk about their children’s oral health care. KOHC also surveyed oral health, primary care, and school professionals to understand the needs for children’s oral health across the state.
Focus group and survey results indicated a need for more education around dental care early in a child’s life from pediatricians, school professionals or other parents and improved access to affordable dental care across the state.
Kentucky can improve oral health for kids by:
- Promoting oral health literacy campaigns to teach the basics of oral health.
- Integrating oral health services into doctor’s visits to prevent cavities in children, pregnancy complications in women, and oral health infection in adults.
- Ensuring all children entering Kindergarten have a dental screening/exam.
- Establishing school-based health programs and utilizing the expanded access service program in schools to increase access for children right where they are learning.
- Increasing access to care in rural and urban communities by leveraging teledentistry to detect oral health concerns.
- Sustaining state funding for the Medicaid and KCHIP programs, and prioritizing investments focused on closing the remaining gap in child health coverage.
Check out this infographic to see the results of our focus groups and surveys, barriers to care, and recommendations for improving oral health in Kentucky.