Gaps in Kids’ Dental Coverage A Trouble Spot

No one wants to go to the dentist, but kids need to. A small cavity left to fester can grow into a big health problem. That’s why the government made pediatric dental care one of the health law’s “essential benefits.”

But new data suggest the law is failing to fully deliver on its promise: A lot of parents didn’t buy dental coverage during the recent online enrollment period.  That spells trouble, according to health experts.

By age 5, about 60 percent of U.S. children will have had cavities; 40 percent have them when they enter kindergarten, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. Children with tooth decay are more likely to have ear and sinus infections. The chance of developing other chronic problems like obesity, diabetes and even heart disease also increases.