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Comments by American Dental Association President Dr. Ron Tankersley on the Pew Center on the States' report 'The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children'
Date:2/23/2010

are just like your children.  Except these children can't eat or sleep properly, can't pay attention in school, can't even smile, because of untreated dental disease.

"We don't agree with everything in the report.  But certainly, it highlights some of the major policy areas that the American Dental Association and state dental societies have advocated for years—things like increased Medicaid funding, school sealant programs and community water fluoridation.  It also highlights the urgent need for reliable routine data collection so that policies are well-informed and kids are not left suffering.

"The report does omit some policy areas that we believe are equally important to improving children's access to care.  For instance, some states have innovative programs—like student loan forgiveness and tax incentives—to help dentists establish practices in underserved areas or practice in community health centers.  And when it comes to fixing Medicaid, money is a huge issue, but it isn't the only issue.  Patients and parents need oral health education to help them take care of themselves and their families to prevent disease.  Many of them need additional services, like transportation, in order to be able to get to dental appointments.  If Medicaid did a better job of these things, tre
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SOURCE American Dental Association
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