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Group asks Congress to fund dental health programs
Updated: 4/28/2010 4:59:59 PM

Group asks Congress to fund dental health programs In an effort to increase access to dental care and education on the importance of dental health, the Pew Center on the States is urging Congress to fund measures in the recently passed healthcare reform legislation that would benefit the dental health of children.

The programs for which the center is advocating include one that would give grants to states to administer school-based programs to seal children's teeth, and funding for education programs aimed at preventing dental problems in children.

Shelly Gehshan, director of the campaign, said that funding for these measures would help expand access to children who currently lack quality dental care, which would have benefits for their overall health.

"With federal funding to back these measures and smart state efforts to implement them, millions of children would gain better access to proper dental care," she said. "These proven policies can help eliminate the pain, missed school hours and long-term health and economic consequences of untreated dental disease."

The funding would bolster state efforts to improve access, as a recent study by Pew found that only 17 states reach 25 percent or more of targeted high-risk schools for sealant programs.

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