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High Barriers to Dental Care Exist For 12 Million Children
Date:2/9/2009

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health finds for children without dental health coverage, over 40% received no regular dental care

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the nation begins to focus its attention on the prospects of major health care reforms, one important aspect of health must not be overlooked -- access to affordable dental care for children. If left untreated, tooth decay in childhood can lead to lifelong tooth and gum problems, hospitalizations and emergency room visits, delayed physical development and loss of school days.

A new report released today reveals that nearly 12 million children in the United States experience serious barriers to getting much needed dental care due to lack of insurance coverage, cost of care and difficulty finding providers who accept their insurance.

"In this poll, we wanted to understand the patterns of dental care for children," says Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. "We asked parents how they access dental health services: whether they had problems accessing services, how often they took their children to the dentist, and whether they experienced barriers to receiving that care."

The poll found that 57 percent of parents say their children began going to the dentist by age 3, and that 82 percent receive regular dental care, defined by going to the dentist at least once per year.

"When we looked at factors associated with not getting regular dental care," Davis says, "one factor that leapt out at us was being uninsured for dental care. We found that while overall, 18 percent of all kids did not get regular dental care, for children without coverage, over 40 percent did not get regular dental care."

The report also shows that cost was a major concern for parents seeking dental health care
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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