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California receives a 'C' for children's oral health efforts
Updated: 4/11/2011 7:00:03 PM

Hygienists say that access to oral health among children in California is lacking The California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) recently discussed the state's lack of initiative regarding children's dental health and cited a recent report from the Pew Center on the States, which gave California a grade of 'C' for the level of recognition that these needs receive.

"Poor oral care contributes to speech impediments, low self-esteem and a wide range of health problems involving infections," CDHA president Ellen Standley said. "It is unfortunate that one in four children have never even been to a dentist and that tooth decay is five times more prevalent than asthma," she added.

CDHA members noted that young residents are confronted with a number of barriers that prevent them from achieving good oral health. For example, only 27 percent of public water supplies in California are fluoridated, as opposed to the national average of 75 percent. Also, only 34 percent of dental fees are reimbursed by Medicaid, compared to some states that allow refunds of up to 60 percent.

Standley said that parents may seek advice from hygienists as to how they can help reduce their child's risk of developing oral conditions.

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