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Dental Insurance for Kids

"Good-looking people with strong, fluoridated teeth get things handed to them on platters." —Doug Coupland

You want your child to be one of these people, right? Of course you do. But strong teeth don’t happen on their own. Teeth need to be cared for, and a dentist is the right person for the job.  

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Why do kids need dental insurance?

Boy in dental chair having his teeth checked.
Tooth decay is the #1 chronic illness among school children.

Even tiny teeth can develop tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you take your baby to a pediatric dentist when his or her first tooth appears, or by the first birthday.  

There’s more to this thinking than pure cosmetics. Tooth decay is the #1 chronic illness among school children. Did you know that?  It’s incredible

Tooth decay is called “dental caries”—and it’s a disease, just like heart disease or diabetes. It’s actually a bacterial infection! According to the Department of Periodontics at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, we’re in the middle of a “silent epidemic” of dental diseases. The first step in halting this epidemic is to realize that “dental caries is a transmissible, infectious disease,” they say.  Do you want your children walking around with an infectious disease in their mouth? We didn’t think so.

That’s not all. Low-income kids who see a dentist before their first birthday reduce their average dental related costs by almost 40%. Family dental insurance not only prevents tooth decay, it can help save you money on your child’s future dental costs!

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But my kids brush. Isn't that enough?

Boy brushing his teeth.
Kids should brush for at least 2 minutes.

Sure, they brush. But do they brush for two minutes, twice a day?  That’s what the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends. Two minutes is a long time. It’s longer than “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants or “Fell in Love with a Girl” by The White Stripes.   

Here’s a fun idea: make a playlist of songs all over the 2:00 mark. When you’re teaching your child how to brush, play one song and ask them to brush as long as it’s playing.  Over time, your child will develop an instinct for exactly how long to brush.

There’s more you can do to help stave off tooth decay. Dental insurance can help pay for sealants, which are harmless clear coatings painted over your child’s back molars to help prevent cavities. They avert tooth decay for an average of 5-7 years. This gives your child plenty of time to develop good brushing habits and good eating habits before the sealants wear away naturally. 


Nothing bad happens if we don't go to the dentist, right?

Wrong. We hate to tell you this, but there are documented cases of children and adults dying because a dental infection spread to the brain. One such case happened in 2007, to a 12-year-old boy in Maryland.  His family had no insurance and had lost Medicaid benefits, so they couldn’t afford the $80 to pull a tooth that would have saved the boy two operations, six weeks in the hospital, and a $250,000 bill for care.

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Sources:
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Children’s Dental Health Project: Health Care Reform Appropriations Talking Points
UIC College of Dentistry:  Dental Caries (Cariology) Treatment in the New Millennium
ABCNews.go.com: Man Dies from Toothache, Couldn’t Afford Meds


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