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Healthcare reform may influence dental care in American communities
Updated: 12/23/2009 5:00:32 PM

Healthcare reform may influence dental care in American communities Earlier this week, a final series of changes was made to the Senate healthcare reform bill that could result in primary and dental care for about 25 million more Americans.

Specifically, the bill provides for a $10 billion investment in community health centers, though analysts believe the figure will rise to about $14 billion when Congress completes the legislation.

The provision, initially requested by Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, could help create or expand dental services in about 10,000 American communities.

Additionally, by providing for loan repayments and scholarships through the National Health Service Corps, the bill's sponsors predict the availability of about 20,000 more primary care doctors, physician assistants and dentists.

According to a recent report by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a charitable organization that lends its services to children and families, about 48 million children and adults in the U.S. do not have ample access to routine oral healthcare, and millions more can get to a dentist but cannot afford to pay for their services.

The National Institutes of Health reports that failing pursue sound dental care starting in childhood could lead to dental health issues such as cavities and tooth loss.

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