Study: Low-Income Children Urgently Need Dental Care
Contra Costa County remains a "dire local oral health situation that requires immediate attention," according to a study released Monday by the county's Dental Health Action Group and Children's Oral Health Program, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The study found that:
- 12% of low-income children require emergency treatment for rotting teeth, infections and other dental problems; and
- 16% had less-serious tooth decay that requires dental care soon.
The author notes that only 34 of the 785 private dentists in the county on a regular basis will treat children covered under Denti-Cal. Denti-Cal is California's dental program for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Padmini Parthasarathy, senior county health education specialist and author of the report, said Denti-Cal reimbursement is inadequate and the application process is lengthy.
The study makes several recommendations, including:
- Increasing the operating time for dental surgery at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center;
- Training general dentists to treat young children;
- Expanding water fluoridation in parts of the county; and
- Expanding dental education and cavity prevention programs (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 6/12).