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In an effort to improve access to dental care programs in lower income areas, an organization has awarded a grant to 21 oral health programs in Pennsylvania.
The Highland Foundation invited safety-net providers, various clinics and health departments in 40 counties to apply for grants that would improve coordination and build capacity, expand services through regional collaboration and expand or improve existing equipment.
"We know that the inability to pay for dental care, limited dental benefits and a lack of dentists available to serve low-income populations can prevent individuals from receiving routine dental care," Yvonne Cook, president of the foundation, said.
The grant will increase access to people who may have poor dental health due to a lack of dental insurance. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), access to dental care is a significant problem with low-income families being impacted the most.
"Poor oral health, especially tooth decay, can affect academic achievement in children and lead to missed days of school, result in missed employment opportunities for adults and affect overall quality of life for all individuals," Cook said.
Tooth decay is one of the more common chronic childhood diseases, which can lead to other serious conditions if untreated, according to the ADA.
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