Some young adults are enjoying extended dental coverage under the health care policies of their parents, whose employers are voluntarily expanding dental coverage in conjunction with expanded medical coverage.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows parents to keep their children on their medical plan until age 26, there is no similar requirement for dental coverage.

ACA’s expanded dependent coverage provision increased access to dental care for young adults ages 19 to 25 by 6.9%, according to a new study published in the journal Medical Care. The study also showed that the ACA policy led to a 2% decrease in the likelihood of this age group experiencing financial barriers to dental care.

The ACA medical coverage expansion’s effect on dental coverage could slow a trend in recent years that has seen fewer young adults seeking and receiving routine dental care.

Charles Norman, DDS, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), called the report’s findings “encouraging.” However, he pointed out that this is only “a segment” of the population as a whole and that more work needs to be done to improve adult dental coverage.

“Millions of Americans continue to face barriers to dental care, which is why the ADA created Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement designed to ensure that everyone, including the most vulnerable among us, have access to the best quality of dental care America’s dentists can provide,” Norman said.