As the legislative session winds down, there are a few important issues yet to be decided. One of them is SB12-108, Medicaid Dental Services Pregnant Women. This legislation specifies dental services as a benefit for pregnant women under Colorado’s Medicaid program. The bill passed out of the Senate this week and is assigned to the House Committee on Health and Environment.
The oral health of a newborn is dependent on the oral health of its mother. Pregnant women with poor oral health have an increased risk of having premature and low-birth weight babies. It is also common for mothers to pass on their bacteria to their newborns, resulting in infections and other health risks for the infant. However, having access to dental health services during pregnancy can reduce the risk of a child starting their life with oral health problems.
In a recent Colorado Public News article, Cara Degette notes, “Over the past 10-15 years, numerous studies have determined that poor dental hygiene and gum disease lead to many other health problems, said Aurora periodontist Pamela McClain, who is president of the American Academy of Periodontology. Gum disease can lead to periodontal disease, or inflammation, infection and decay of the bone and tendons around the teeth. The studies have connected periodontal disease to increased risks for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even pancreatic cancer, she said.”
Oral health is a prominent problem for Colorado’s low-income children. CCHI and its members recognize that oral health is an important part of a family’s health and support this legislation.
We hope that our legislators support this important piece of legislation and help limit the challenges that Colorado’s low-income women and children face.
The bill wil be before the Colorado House Committee on Health and Environment tomorrow. Click here to write to members of this committee in support of a dental benefit for pregnant mothers’ who qualify for Medicaid.