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Study examines opportunities for improved dental care
Updated: 12/16/2009 6:59:12 PM

Improvements in dental care forthcoming? The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a charitable organization that lends its services to children and families, released a report on December 16 regarding the training trends of dental health care providers it hopes will assist with extending dental care to Americans in disadvantaged communities.

According to the report, about 48 million children and adults in the U.S. do not have ample access to routine oral health care, and millions more can get to a dentist but cannot afford to pay for their services.

By consequence, dental infections can cause severe pain, absences from school or work and occasionally life-threatening emergencies.

While public clinics provide safety nets for America's poor families, the report indicates that these health centers are typically overwhelmed and unable to provide dental care for all.

In fact, the Kellogg study revealed that about one-third of all African American children and nearly half of Mexican American children between the ages of 6 and 8 in the U.S. suffer from untreated tooth decay.

One solution the report offers involves recruiting dental therapists, who perform basic, preventive services after several years of training.

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