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New bill to require dental exam before children attend school
Updated: 2/18/2008 3:50:02 PM

A measure passed by the House Health and Welfare Committee Thursday would mean that children attending public school would need to have a dental check-up beforehand in hopes it would begin to tackle the number of children with poor dental health.

Advocates for the bill are hoping to tackle Kentucky's poor dental health records, as it is currently the state with the highest percentage in the nation of toothless adults under the age of 65, according to a dentist from Barbourville, Ed Smith.

If the bill becomes law after going through the House of Representatives, the Kentucky Dental Association (KDA) has said it would make dental care available for children who aren't covered by insurance or Medicaid under the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP).

The Cabinet however is not advocating the bill because of concerns for program's costs to Medicaid and the KCHIP because it said neither of these programs would provide dental care for more than half of the population they intend to serve.

According to Dr. Fred Howard, a dentist in Harlan and president of the KDA, the bill would help both parents and children learn about proper dental care.

"Once you get that person established with a dental home, that's when we can begin to provide the service that's needed," he said.


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