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The San Ysidro Health Center, a clinic that sees over 50,000 low-income patients a year, has recently announced that it will provide free dental health services to pregnant women and children under the age of six at its San Diego, National City and San Ysidro locations, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Officials at the clinic stated that the initiative was put in place to address the importance of quality dental care for pregnant women and young children.
"Tooth decay is an infection that does not heal without treatment," said the center's director Sergio Cuevas, quoted by the news source. "If cavities are not treated, children can develop infections severe enough to require emergency-room treatment, and their adult teeth may be permanently damaged."
Cuevas also noted that increased hormone levels can make a pregnant woman's teeth and gums especially sensitive to bacteria, which can lead to the development of dental infections.
The free program is open to any child who has not started kindergarten, all uninsured pregnant women and new mothers up to 90 days after they have given birth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be examined by a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than age 1.
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