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Florida children need better access to dental care
Updated: 6/28/2013 6:15:08 PM
 

Florida children need better access to dental care

While there are government programs that can help people gain access to dental care, sometimes they are not enough. This is why people who are concerned about how they are going to pay for a visit to the dentist's office should look into discount dental plans, which they can purchase for a low yearly fee and will connect them to dentists who will perform services for a fraction of their usual cost. In particular, people in Florida may want to purchase one of these plans, since a recent article highlighted that many children in the state covered by Medicaid do not get the dental care they need.

According to an article published in the Orlando Sentinel, a recent report from the Pew Children's Dental Campaign found that 1.5 million children in the state on Medicaid received insufficient dental care in 2011, the year that was analyzed. 

More needs to be done
The researchers found that children on private insurance were 30 percent more likely to receive dental care than those on Medicaid. This is particularly concerning, considering that children on Medicaid are twice as likely to have cavities as other children. 

"The Florida numbers are horrible, and they don't appear to be getting any better," Frank Catalanotto, professor and chairman of the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, told the Orlando Sentinel. "The good news to me is that I think some of the people in state are really taking this seriously."

According to Catalanotto, one of the biggest problems is that only 15 percent of Florida dentists accept Medicaid patients. This is mostly because the state has very low Medicaid reimbursement rates, so many dentists are concerned that they will lose money by treating these individuals. 

Education is needed
It is important that parents in Florida understand the importance of dental health and how to care for not only their children's teeth, but their own as well. The Florida Dental Health Foundation is one group in the state that aims to extend dental health resources and educational information to people in the state who may be underserved. It's also key for people in the state to understand that they do not have to have dental insurance or Medicaid to get the care they need, since they can also purchase a discount dental plan to gain access to a dentist. 

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