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Are you taking advantage of dental coverage for your children?

Most people have accepted that proper oral healthcare is essential to overall wellbeing.

However, regular dental maintenance isn’t high on everyone’s priorities lists.

As adults, we decide if we take care of our teeth or not, but the most vulnerable members of our society — children — are the most affected by the dangers of going without dental benefits.

There are a lot of factors you need to consider when managing a household budget. It can be tempting to leave health insurance off the list.

Dental problems cause children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year, and more than 40% of children in the United States suffer from tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten.

Pain and suffering due to untreated teeth diseases, such as cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis can lead to problems with eating, speaking and children’s learning ability.

You can protect your family’s dental health is with the right dental insurance plan.

Dental benefits impact children’s oral health

A report by The Journal of the American Dental Association concluded that dental benefits play a vital role in meeting the dental health needs of children, partially due to regular dentist visits and treatments.

The number of uninsured children has decreased by 58% in the last two decades. That’s a good sign for our children, given that children with dental insurance are more likely to receive proper oral care than those who don’t. In fact, the dental needs of children who had access to dental care plans has decreased since 2009.

In spite of the progress made in the last years, imbalances still exist. Because of socioeconomic disparities, education levels and provider accessibility, there are children without any dental benefits. These children might have higher chances of developing teeth problems which may lead to more complex treatments later in life.

What you need to know about dental coverage for your children

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health providers in the insurance marketplace to offer dental benefits to children. Simply put, if you buy a medical plan for your kid, they must provide the option of buying pediatric dental care as well.

But there’s a loophole.

Although pediatric dental care is considered essential, it’s not mandatory. Although health insurance exchanges must provide the option for pediatric dental coverage (or include it in their plans), parents aren’t required to purchase it. Unlike standard medical coverage, parents aren’t subject to a penalty for not enrolling their children in a dental plan.

There are a few exceptions, though. For instance, Nevada, Washington and Kentucky mandate parents to purchase dental benefits for their children. And if you buy your coverage directly from an insurer, you must provide some level of assurance that you will get dental benefits for your kids.

Start when they’re young

Experts recommend that children see a dentist within six months of getting their first tooth, but many parents neglect this advice. Even if your child doesn’t have any teeth yet, they should still see a dentist during their first year of life to ensure healthy development of the primary teeth.

These initial visits are covered under a medical insurance plan that includes pediatric dental care.

How to choose the right dental plan for your child

Just because you’re aware of how essential dental benefits are to the oral health of your child doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose a plan. It can be intimidating and confusing. Here are some items to consider when researching dental coverage options for your family:

Not all plans are created equal: There can be huge disparities between dental plans. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, you may have to pay between $0 and $3,000 for dental coverage for your kid. It all depends on the type of coverage you have and your child’s needs.

Understand your child’s needs: Your child’s unique dental needs should play a major part in your decision-making process. If your child has good dental health and only needs regular check-ups, then opt for a plan that covers preventive services in full. If they need orthodontia work, it’s better to pay a little extra for the dental plan, so that the maximum costs remain low.

Dental care is paramount to the development of children. The best thing you can do for your child’s oral health is to opt for pediatric dental care under your medical insurance plan.

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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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