A recent national report found that Pennsylvania meets only two of eight minimum benchmarks for state-sponsored dental health policies concerning disadvantaged children.
The Pew Center on the States report, titled The Cost of Delay, identified several areas where Pennsylvania needs to improve its basic preventative dental care services for underprivileged children, including increasing school-based sealant programs, implementing a more efficient and effective Medicaid system and allowing hygienists to act as primary dental professionals for kids coming from low-income families.
Officials with the organization found that the Quaker state provides access to fluoridated water to only about half of its population.
Dr. Babak Firouzi, a local Pittsburgh dentist, said that legislation to improve the state's fluoridation policy has been pending in committee for over a year, but no progress has been made.
"Fluoridation of water is a no-brainer," said Firouzi. "It's a clear benefit to public dental health. I cannot understand why this legislation is being held up."
Pennsylvania was one of nine states to receive a failing grade in the report.
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