Many States Fall Short in Ensuring Access to Kids' Dental Care, Study Finds

At least one in five children in the U.S. go without dental care each year, and most states do not have policies in place to guarantee access to cost-saving preventive treatments, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States, USA Today reports.

Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children's Dental Campaign, said U.S. residents will spend $106 billion on dental care in 2010. She said most of the expenditures will go toward fillings, root canals and other costly treatments that could have been prevented with better childhood dental care.

Researchers gave six states an "A" grade for their dental health policies, but even children in those states have problems accessing care, the study found.

The study graded school-based dental sealant programs, fluoridated water and Medicaid payments, among other issues (Young, USA Today, 2/23).

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