Lt. Governor Brian Calley and state public health officials joined industry executives, dentists and school officials at a Lansing elementary school Tuesday to celebrate the expansion of the state’s Healthy Kids Dental program to about 64,000 children in Ingham, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties.

The program which began in May of 2000 provides access to dental care to Medicaid-eligible children across Michigan.

The program is now available to about 500,000 enrollees in 78 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Calley says the expansion of Healthy Kids Dental is another step forward in efforts to improve the health of children in Michigan and put them on a path to be successful in school and in life.

Healthy Kids Dental is a public-private partnership of the Michigan Department of Community Health and Delta Dental of Michigan with support from the Michigan Dental Association.

Officials say studies have indicated that children with the program coverage are more likely to receive dental treatment than those with traditional Medicaid dental coverage.