Dentists and health care advocates are expressing concern that insufficient pediatric dental care could contribute to health problems for low-income California children, New America Media reports.
Last year, California eliminated its Children's Dental Disease Prevention Program, which provided school-based preventive services such as dental education, fluoride rinses and sealants. The program targeted schools where the majority of students came from low-income families.
Advocates say the program's loss could mean that more than 300,000 children will no longer have access to preventive oral health care.
As a result, some children might develop dental disease and other problems that could have significant health effects.
Experts say tooth decay and other dental problems can lead to school absences and more serious health conditions.
About one in three low-income children have tooth decay, according to Jared Fine, dental health administrator at the Alameda County Public Health Department (Sundaram, New America Media, 2/2).