Pediatric primary care providers can play an important role in oral health screening, family education, and regular dental referrals. This is critical for low-income and minority children, who have higher rates of dental disease than those from wealthier families. New Jersey Smiles: A Medicaid Quality Collaborative to Improve Oral Health in Young Kids developed a number of resources to support providers in these efforts:

While developed for New Jersey providers, these resources can be adapted and used in other states interested in improving oral health for young children.

The 18-month NJ Smiles initiative engaged the state’s five Medicaid MCOs, NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid, New Jersey Head Start, and other regional partners to improve access to dental care among low-income and minority children. Launched by CHCS in 2007 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NJ Smiles has increased dental service utilization and the establishment of dental homes for this population.