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Wisconsin struggles to give children access to dental care
Updated: 6/26/2013 4:30:06 PM

Wisconsin struggles to give children access to dental care

Across the U.S., there are many individuals who may need discount dental plans to help them gain access to affordable dental care, since many people do not have dental insurance and Medicaid alone may not be enough. For example, according to a recent article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin ranks number two in the nation for states where low-income children do not have access to dental services. 

According to the news source, more than 71 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children in Wisconsin did not see a dentist in 2011, which is a number that is second only to Florida. 

"I knew access was bad across the country and figured Wisconsin would be in the bottom third, but I was a little surprised at the No. 2 ranking," Matt Crespin, associate director of the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin, an affiliate of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "That may be eye-opening for policy-makers and decision makers."

A major issue
According to the news source, more than 14 million children across the nation do not have access to dental care. Furthermore, Monica Hebl, D.D.S., told the newspaper that without proper dental care, children may experience inflammation of the gums and a number of other oral issues that could lead to other conditions, like diabetes. 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Claire Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the department is aware of this issue affecting kids across the state and is working to help improve dental care among Wisconsin children. For example, the state sponsors a program called Seal-A-Smile, which provides basic dental checkups and the applications of dental sealants to schools where 50 percent of enrollees are receiving free or reduced-cost lunch. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings applied over the back teeth that may help prevent cavities from developing. 

Dental care is key
Colgate explained that proper dental care habits for children should start before they even have teeth. This means parents should wipe down their baby's gums with a wet washcloth after every meal to help keep bacteria away. Once teeth do develop, parents must take their children to the dentist. Those without dental insurance who are concerned about their ability to pay for their child to go to the dentist should consider purchasing a discount dental plan, which can help them gain access to affordable dentistry for the whole family. 

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