ABCD Enrollment Hits 50,000, Coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month

ABCD Enrollment Hits 50,000, Coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month

Feb 15, 2012

For more information: Kim Papich, (509) 324-1539,

SPOKANE, Wash. – February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and Spokane Regional Health District’s (SRHD) Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program is celebrating by reaching an important milestone—enrolling its 50,000th child. The timing could not be more perfect as National Children’s Dental Health Month reminds parents of the role oral health plays to a child’s overall health.
The American Dental Association sponsors the month. Central to its messaging is the recommendation that parents begin dental care for their child by the first birthday. The ABCD program matches Medicaid-eligible children, ages 0-6, to a dentist, providing them access to dental care at an early age. Preventive services and education can be important in reducing dental decay, which is the most common disease among children.
“This campaign brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others to promote the benefits of good oral health,” said Ida Ovnicek, ABCD program manager. “These messages align well with the work of public health as we know how important a healthy smile is to a child’s lifetime health and self-esteem.”
Spokane was home to the first ABCD dental program in 1995. At that time, only 14.2 percent of young Medicaid-eligible children had received dental care. That number has grown to 52.7 percent. Currently, 37 of 39 counties across Washington state have an ABCD program, including SRHD’s new regional program administration at Lincoln County Health Department using a grant from Washington Dental Service Foundation.
Also happening this month, the KSPS live series, Health Matters, will address oral health in Spokane and feature local expertise, including from SRHD staff. The show will air on KSPS DT on Thur., Feb. 16, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. PST.
Yoke’s Fresh Markets and Collins Family Dentistry are also sponsoring a toothbrush drive. During the month of February, you can purchase and drop off new toothbrushes at any Spokane-area Yoke’s Fresh Market. The toothbrushes will be given to children and teens through 2nd Harvest Food Bank and Eastern Washington University’s TRIO program. Collins Family Dentistry will match the community's donations up to 1000 toothbrushes.
Concluded Ovnicek, “I also want to use this month as an opportunity to thank Spokane’s dental and medical providers, Washington Dental Service Foundation and Washington State Health Care Authority in their continued support of these programs. They have helped to grow Spokane’s number of ABCD-trained dentists to 233, and we now have 247 ABCD “E”-trained medical providers—all providing services and education which can reduce dental decay, a preventable disease.”
Parents and caregivers interested in more information and enrollment for the ABCD Program are encouraged to call (509) 324-1478. More information can also be found at SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.
More information
ABCD Program
The ABCD Program matches Medicaid-eligible children, ages 0-6, to a dentist. ABCD children receive:

  • 3 fluoride varnish applications per year
  • 2 dental examinations per year
  • 2 parent education sessions per year
  • Restorative care as needed

Over 200 dentists in Spokane County are certified to participate in the ABCD program. Program staff work closely with these dentists, providing case management with ABCD parents, and technical assistance on ABCD program administration.
ABCD “E” Program
The Access to Baby and Child Dentistry “Expanded” (ABCD “E”) program provides training to pediatricians and primary care physicians to provide an oral health assessment, basic oral health education and application of fluoride varnish, which is reimbursed by Medicaid.