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In order to increase the availability of free dental care to California residents, the First 5 Sacramento Commission has awarded a $2.9 million grant towards the expansions of local health centers. Among the organizations that received funding is The Effort, a Sacramento-based nonprofit association, that will be adding free pediatric dental services within the next year, according to The Sacramento Business Journal.
The organization will treat children at four area clinics in order to lower the risk of oral complications in pediatric patients. Within the next five years, commission officials predict that approximately 11,000 new patients will be treated for dental problems, which will include more than 22,000 appointments.
Petra Stanton, director of health program development at The Effort, told the news source that "with the funding from First 5 Sacramento, we will be able to leverage federal resources and The Effort will be able to serve any low-income child in Sacramento County, regardless of insurance status."
Poor oral hygiene in pediatric dental patients has become a growing epidemic across the country, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2001 to 2004, an estimated 20 percent of children age 2 to 5 years suffered untreated dental problems.
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