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A person is never too young to learn good dental health habits, yet unfortunately many children are told about the importance of caring for their teeth too late. For example, the American Dental Association recommended that kids visit the dentist when their first tooth appears or by age 1, whichever comes first. Unfortunately, many parents wait until their children are toddlers and well into teething before they take them to the dentist. By then, they may have already developed several cavities.
In an effort to improve the dental health of children across the U.S., many states have been bringing dental care professionals into schools. Usually, these individuals will do something simple like apply dental sealants to children's teeth, but now some places are considering doing much more.
Dentists in the classroom
Recently, the New York Post reported that the New York Department of Education is looking for dentists to spend time inside public schools performing everything from cleaning to extractions. Clinics will be placed in rooms designated by principals, and will be open for one day a week during school hours. If parents give permission, children will have their teeth examined by the dentists during school.
New York is planning on starting this program in eight schools in Brooklyn. According to the news source, many of these schools are in neighborhoods where there are a lot of underserved children, and they may be in need of help from their schools in order to see the dentist.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the new program, saying that public schools are not the place for dentists to help children.
"If we are going to decide that government and schools are responsible for everything a kid might need in their life, then we have fully replaced parenting," Bob Bowdon, executive director of Choice Media, an education reform group, told the New York Post.
What about adults?
If this program is implemented, it may help many underserved children gain access to dental care. However, there are also many adults out there who also need to see a dentist who may not have health insurance or the independent funds to afford a dental visit. These people should look into discount dental plans, which will help them gain access to a dentist for an affordable price. Furthermore, parents who prefer that their children see a dentist in his or her office rather than a classroom should consider purchasing a plan for the whole family.
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