Baby and Child Dentistry



  • Children ages 0-6 who are insured by Medicaid (Apple Health) are eligible for free dental checkups, fluoride treatments, and fillings. 
  • Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) benefits recently expanded to include children and youth with special health care needs who have a Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) indicator up to the child’s 13th birthday.

Children's dental health matters

Children from low-income families are more likely to experience the greatest amount of oral disease, the most extensive disease, and the most frequent use of dental services for pain relief. Those living below the poverty level disproportionately include families of color, immigrants, refugees, and those who lack access to resources such as education, health or dental care

Tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem among children. Cavities in baby teeth hurt and can limit a child’s ability to:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Talk
  • Play

Left untreated, dental decay in baby teeth can affect a child’s learning and development and can cause serious health problems and infections.

Childhood dental decay is preventable and manageable. Starting a dental care routine when a child is young sets them up for a lifetime of good health! 

Children should have their first dental visit by age 1.

What children eat also impacts their dental health (learn more here).

Fluoride prevents cavities by strengthening our teeth & altering the acid-producing bacteria in our mouth.

School sealant programs typically provide dental sealants at no charge to children who are less likely to receive private dental care. This brings quality dental care to children where they are at, who may not otherwise have access (CDC, 2020).  Treatment for dental caries helps to prevent further tooth decay and tooth loss and providers for a higher quality of life.

  1. Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs
  2. People at increased risk of dental health problems

Children and youth with special health care needs are also at greater risk for poor dental hygiene. Dental caries (cavities) are more common among those with disabilities than those without, this is due to developmental abilities or systemic disease. Dental insurance may not be comprehensive enough to care for this group’s specific dental needs and access to those dental providers who deliver specialized care for this group is significantly limited.

Resources from Washington State Department of Health for Children with Special Healthcare needs:



Oral Health Brochures by Age

More information