Oral Health

Oral health is an integral part of overall health. Good oral health and dental hygiene can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, as well as reduce the risk of complications due to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and preterm birth.

Our Mission

Comprehensive coverage and access to oral health and dental services are often lacking for many consumers in Massachusetts. This is particularly true for underserved and high-risk populations such as low-income adults, older adults, people with disabilities, minorities, and immigrant populations.

What is HCFA doing to address the problem?

Advocating for legislative, budget and policy solutions that increase coverage and access to oral health & dental services for all persons in the Commonwealth.

Key Issue Areas:

  • Protect full MassHealth adult dental benefits for adults (age 21 – 64)
  • Integrate medical and dental care
  • Increase access to oral health care for underserved

Policy Priorities

Integration of dental and medical care:

Include oral health and dental services as a requirement of state standards for MassHealth and commercial Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and other value-based care models. Given ACOs’ focus on whole-person health, the inclusion of oral health is critical to fully realize the potential of integrated care. Oral health integration is complex and requires a multi-pronged approach including payment and care delivery reform, provider education, and investments in health information technology.

Increase access to oral health care for older adults (age >55):

Engage older adults to mobilize and advocate for expanded access and coverage of oral health & dental services in Massachusetts, explore new opportunities for low-income seniors to participate in Senior Care Option (SC) dental plans, and develop a policy agenda & campaign that addresses the concerns and challenges older adults encounter when accessing care.

Outreach Activity

The Oral Health Advocacy Task Force (OHAT): OHAT is a broad-based statewide coalition of consumers, advocates, health care professionals, academics, and insurers. It is composed of 109 member organizations, guided by a 20-member steering committee and works closely with the Legislative Oral Health Caucus, chaired by Senator Paul Mark and Representative Angelo Puppolo.


  • Restoration of full dental benefits for adults with MassHealth, including coverage for periodontal services to treat gum disease, as well as root canals and crowns on back teeth.
  • Helped establish the Legislative Commission on Oral Health and the Statewide Oral Health Needs Assessment.
  • Inclusion of an oral health screening requirement in the recently approved MassHealth 1115 waiver extension.

Where can I find more information about this campaign?

Massachusetts’ Efforts to Integrate Oral Health into ACOs

Connecting the Mouth to the Body in Health Policy

Oral Health Integration Project Coalition Member Level of Engagement

Case Studies in Oral Health Integration

Integrating Oral and General Health: The Role of Accountable Care Organizations

Coordinated Care and Oral Health Integration in Oregon

Contact our team to learn more!

Grace Coughlin, MSW

Policy & Project Coordinator

Email Grace to learn more

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