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legisbrief oral health workforce

Oral Health Workforce

By Jennifer Breshears Wheeler and Austin Rueschhoff | Vol . 21, No. 09 / March 2013

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Dental disease is preventable, yet dental care is the most common unmet health treatment need in children.

Dental care remains the greatest unmet health need among U.S. children. Untreated oral health problems can lead to pain, missed school days, decreased self-esteem and even death. Nine million U.S. children lack health insurance, and more than twice that number lack dental coverage. Even those with coverage often do not receive recommended oral health services. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, only 49 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children received dental services in 2011. The shortage of dental providers contributes to this problem. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), about 45 million people live in areas with a shortage of dentists, and finding timely care may be difficult. State lawmakers continue to explore policy options to improve access to oral health services..

 

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