Our friends at the Children’s Dental Project have released a new report outlining the findings of an analysis using system dynamics modeling (SDM) to learn how different prevention strategies would reduce tooth decay among young children in New York State and affect the state Medicaid budget. The brief supports Schuyler Center’s work promoting policies to reduce dental disease in children and develop community collaborations around the strategies outlined in the SDM research. The Schuyler Center’s oral health briefs can be found here.

Despite being largely preventable, tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic health condition among U.S. children and adolescents.  Nearly half of all children entering Kindergarten have had at least one cavity. While prevalence has significantly decreased in recent years among most children, early childhood caries (ECC)—tooth decay in children from birth through age 5—is becoming more frequent among those ages 2-5. The increase in tooth decay is especially pronounced among children living in low-income families, which indicates that the current oral health care system is not adequately addressing the needs of children with the highest risk for poor oral health.