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A recent survey found that the availability of dental care to Rhode Islanders has significantly improved since 2005, although uninsured and Medicaid-enrolled residents are still lacking access, in general, according to an article published in the Providence Journal.
The newspaper attributed these improvements to 51,000 children who are covered by the state RIte Care plan for poor families being moved into a managed-care program that pays dentists higher reimbursement rates than Medicaid. Also, community health centers and hospital-based clinics have expanded, and mobile dental clinics serve disadvantaged individuals of all ages.
However, the news provider cited some of the poll's results that highlighted areas of concern. For example, more than one-fourth of Rhode Island residents between the ages of 18 and 64 - as well as more than half of those 65 and older - do not have dental insurance.
According to the American Dental Hygienists' Association, dental caries are the most prevalent chronic disease in the nation, affecting 53 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 and 84 percent of 17-year-olds.
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