Congratulations to Dr. Brandy Lipton, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, for her recent National Institute of Health grant funding to study the impact of dental care access on children’s oral health and academic outcomes. Children with poor oral health tend to have more school absences and achieve less in school than their peers without oral health problems. While Medicaid-eligible children are more likely to experience tooth decay compared to higher income children, they are less likely to visit the dentist annually (29% vs. 52%). Dr. Lipton and colleagues will examine whether Medicaid policies that increase dental care access improve children’s oral health and academic performance. The team will leverage state-level changes in Medicaid payment rates to dentists, adult dental coverage, and coverage of fluoride varnish by non-dentist primary care providers during 1999-2016 and several large-scale national datasets. These findings will provide timely and policy-relevant new evidence on the effects of increased access to dental care and the role for public health insurance policy. The research team includes San Diego State University researchers Drs. Brandy Lipton, Tracy Finlayson, and Mingan Yang and collaborators Drs. Sandra Decker (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) and Richard Manski (University of Maryland, Baltimore).
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