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A South Carolina bill aimed at improving the dental health of the state's children has received initial approval.
The bill was approved by a panel led by State Senator Ray Cleary and will be sent to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee, the Associated Press reports.
The Republican, who is also a dentist, introduced the bill in an effort to provide children with free dental checkups as a way to combat tooth decay within the schools.
The senator said the program will help prevent children from missing school because of dental appointments and treat painful dental conditions that may distract them during class.
"We've got children who are just not mentally alert or missing many days because of this issue. Our education in South Carolina needs to go forward," Cleary told the Greenville News recently.
If approved, the bill would create a pilot program in the state's poorest counties where some children may not have access to regular dental care due to lack of dental insurance.
Cleary told the news provider he hopes the program assists parents in keeping their children healthy by catching cavities and other potential dental health problems early.
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