Cynthia Shirk

Document Type

Issue Brief

Publication Date



Almost ten years after the surgeon general’s report designating dental disease as the “silent epidemic,” the nation continues to struggle with adequate access to and utilization of dental services. This is particularly true for low-income individuals, who experience more than twice the amount of untreated dental disease as their higher-income peers. This issue brief reviews sources of dental coverage for low-income children and adults and the challenges these programs face. It highlights some examples of state Medicaid initiatives to improve access and utilization for children and the progress of these initiatives. Finally, it examines the potential effects of the economy on dental coverage for low-income populations.


Issue brief no. 836

Open Access




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