Advancing integrated and preventive oral health in Colorado’s early childhood systems.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among school-age children. If untreated, it can result in infections and expensive emergency care. Yet, not enough young Colorado children get preventive oral health.

In 2022, Early Milestones led the creation of the Roadmap for Early Childhood Oral Health Equity. This plan outlined strategies to increase the number of young children receiving preventive oral health.

We are now studying how preventive services are funded and what barriers exist. We want to help stakeholders understand how preventive services outside a dental clinic can be funded. We are leveraging the roadmap to support preschool programs as they implement health screening and practice elements within the new Universal Preschool Colorado program.


Early Childhood Oral Health in Colorado

Early Milestones developed a statewide scan of oral health policies, programs, and systemic barriers to help Colorado leaders identify where future investments can be most effective in improving access, integration, and data. Early Milestones also created a timeline to highlight key events in Colorado’s oral health systems from the last 20 years. With these tools as guides, stakeholders developed a strategic roadmap to improve oral health equity for Colorado’s young children and families.

This strategic roadmap, organized around four goals for the next three years, offers ideas and resources for anyone who has a role in promoting the health of young children and their families.

The Roadmap also includes information about:

  • The context of Colorado’s early childhood oral health ecosystem, especially for communities of color
  • Connections to other related frameworks, plans, and recommendations
  • References and resources on early childhood oral health, health equity, and community-centered practice