DENTAL HEALTH: State Program Provides New Anti-Decay Technique To Low-Income Children
A pilot program is bringing the "state's first school-based dental sealing program" to low-income Sacramento-area children as one of 10 regional projects made possible by the state's $2.1 million Children's Dental Health Initiative. The program, which is "supported by neighborhood groups and dental plan companies," utilizes a mobile clinic that goes to schools. While thousands of Sacramento-area students receive free dental screening through a variety of services, this is the first program to bring dental sealing -- a "10-minute process that ... has been shown to be 85% effective in halting decay" -- to poor children. With the technique, pits and crevices prone to decay are filled with a liquid plastic that is hardened under ultraviolet light. The poor dental health of many of California's schoolchildren was "vividly outlined" in a 1997 study by the Department of Health Services and the California Wellness Foundation that found California kids have "three times" more tooth decay than the national average. Officials largely attribute the problem to poverty and high immigration rates from countries lacking dental care (Engellenner, 5/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.