One in four children (25 percent) from needy families are likely to have cavities, a rate that’s more than twice that of higher-income households. That’s according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. That fact — blamed on a shortage of available dental services as well as economics — can have long-lasting consequences, as untreated dental disease can impair eating, sleeping, and the ability to function well at home and at school.
To help address the problem, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield NJ is re-funding the Kids Oral Health Program (KOHP) it created in 2016, providing a second round of grants totaling $500,000 to nonprofit organizations that bring dental care and education programs to those who otherwise would go without. The health insurer reports that 15,000 kids in 11 counties benefited from participation in school and community-based programs under the first round of funding. The new grants will benefit 13,500 children though eight programs operating in 10 counties.