As Arkansas children were returning to school this year, our specialists were working with Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) on a Dental Outreach Campaign.
Through ARKids First, which provides health insurance to more than 320,000 Arkansas children from birth to their 19th birthday, children are able to receive regular vision and dental exams without a referral from a doctor. But data showed in at-risk counties, ARKids-enrolled children and their parents were not utilizing these wellness services, potentially putting their children’s overall health at risk.
The goal of the Dental Outreach Campaign was to give parents a tangible – and useful – reminder to use ARKids wellness coverage.
In February 2016, we helped DHS with a smaller dental outreach campaign, sending roughly 7,000 packets to four at-risk counties for which data indicated low rates of dental checkups for kids under age 14. Through research, we discovered 10 additional at-risk counties in the state where dental visits for children were low if there were any visits at all.
In August 2017, we distributed more than 35,000 dental packets containing dental hygiene cards and kid-sized toothbrushes to:
- 14 at-risk counties
- 15 local health units
- Nurses in 34 school districts
We created a way for DHS to put important information related to a child’s oral health directly into their hands – and their mouths.
And it is one more step in our 20-year walk with ARKids First and DHS toward improving the health of all Arkansas children.