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The dental health crisis in the U.S. is affecting children as well as adults. Many Americans do not have dental insurance, which makes it likely that their children are also struggling to gain access to dental care. Recently, a study found that American-born children of immigrants have particularly poor access to dentists, which may be because their parents don't understand the options available to them.
Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Chicago discovered that low-income children of immigrants see doctors and dentists far less often than low-income children of native-born parents.
"Noncitizen parents may be unaware of their U.S.-born children's eligibility for important benefits, or they may believe that seeking assistance for eligible children would hinder other family members' efforts to obtain citizenship or legal status, or their ability to re-enter and stay in the United States," said researcher Kathleen Ziol-Guest.
These findings highlight the need for more dental health education programs geared toward immigrants. For example, more organizations that offer bilingual brochures to educate individuals who do not have strong English skills about the importance of proper dental care would be beneficial.
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