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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, August 28, 2015

USA - Why do poor kids get more cavities?

By Sarah Uehara
Despite decades of community water fluoridation, fluoride toothpaste use, improvements in nutrition and hygiene education, dental caries — also known as cavities — remain the most common childhood disease in America. They lead to pain, infections, nutritional deficits, lack of sleep, poor concentration, slower physical growth and a loss of about a dozen school hours per child.

Families with incomes below the federal poverty line — often families of color — experience twice the incidence of dental caries compared with higher earning families. Part of the problem is that they're not receiving the treatment they need. A quarter of all children from low income families have not seen a dentist before kindergarten, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
This lack of access persists for a variety of reasons, and its remedy will require a multi-pronged policy approach. Primarily, a greater proportion of dentists must to be willing to see children with public insurance. This should be encouraged by paying them more per visit and providing other financial incentives to dentists who establish practices in underserved populations. Research has demonstrated that increased Medicaid Fee for Service reimbursement rates to dentists significantly increases provider participation, thereby increasing treatment rates and utilization by children enrolled in Medicaid. According to the U.S. General Accounting office, only 38 percent of children between the ages of 2-17 years enrolled in either Medicaid or state-run children's health insurance programs saw a dentist in the past year, compared to 55 percent of their privately insured counterparts.

Bad diet, too much sugar, lack of intelligence or despair in living in an environment that doesn't care?


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