Despite the inclusion of oral health care in Medicaid’s benefit for children, in a given year, less than half of children
enrolled in Medicaid receive any dental service. States may be able to use their purchasing power to encourage better
access, quality, and accountability in oral health care for children in Medicaid – particularly through contracting with
dental plans. This brief explores contract‐based options for improving access to oral health care for children enrolled
in Medicaid. It describes how states with managed care delivery systems can use contracting mechanisms and
incentives to engage plans and providers in improving access and outcomes in children’s oral health care.