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California Dental Hygienists Say National Children's Dental Health Month Should Be a Yearlong Effort
Date:2/26/2010

California Dental Hygienists’ Association Conducts Statewide Outreach Efforts to Provide Low-Income Children Access to Dental Care

Glendale, Calif. (PRWEB) February 26, 2010 -- As National Children’s Dental Health Month draws to a close, California’s dental hygienists are reminding parents and guardians that protecting the smiles of California’s youngest children is a year-round commitment.

“Taking a month to spotlight this issue is a wonderful opportunity to better educate parents and the public,” said Daphne Von Essen, president of the California Dental Hygienists' Association. “But this really needs to be something we as a society focus on 365 days a year because we have millions of California children suffering from insufficient oral health care.”

The most vulnerable Californians are children in low-income families who have limited access to dental care, lack of dental education and nutritional needs – all of which result in a high cavity rate in children. The greatest racial and ethnic disparity is seen among children ages two through eight, especially in Hispanic, African American and rural communities.

Early Childhood Caries (ECC), a distinctive pattern of severe tooth decay in infants and young children, is one of the most common diseases in this age group. By conservative estimates, it affects more than one out of seven preschoolers and over half of California’s elementary school children.

“Poor oral health not
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