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A report recently issued by the Pew Center on the States has given Missouri a C grade for its state policies regarding children's dental care. The study found that Missouri only hit four of eight national benchmarks related to dental health policy.
Officials with the non-profit organization found that the Show Me State needs to address several critical barriers to dental health access, including their Medicaid system, which is complicated and underfunded, according to STLToday.com. Only 28 percent of Missourians enrolled in the program received dental care last year.
The study found that Missouri also needs to increase funding for state-sponsored programs related to dental care. However, the state does fluoridate their drinking water and has a tracking program for children's dental health.
"For too long, the unmet oral health needs of a growing number of Missourians have been ignored," said Matt Niewald, president of the Missouri Dental Association. "More attention must be paid to widening access to safe, preventative dental care, which is imperative in maintaining overall health."
Niewald added that the recommended improvements to Missouri's dental policies would not "break the bank."
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