Children from low-income families may not have the option of regular dental care. Many, however, have been served by community healthcare clinics, school-based programs and mobile dental facilities across the country for decades.
For example, nearly 25 volunteer dentists at California-based St. Raphael's Dental Clinic offer much-needed oral health services to economically disadvantaged children three times a week. They administer checkups, cleanings and cavity treatments, according to Recordnet.com.
As California faces severe budget cuts in social services this year, the Stockton Unified School District is reportedly holding meetings on how to further bolster dental-health offerings for needy children in the local community.
Speaking to the paper, volunteer dentist Lynn Parker noted that treating tooth disease in children early on is essential, because "if left untreated...[it] does not go away. It gets worse. It spreads to other teeth. It eventually causes pain. It can cause infection. It can even cause death." She also noted that dental disease causes nearly 51 million lost school hours a year.
The American Dental Association notes that parents are central to helping children learn good oral healthcare methods, including proper diet and nutrition to help mitigate instances of tooth decay and cavities.
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