In 2006, about 60% of children in low-income families had no dental visit in the past year, compared with only 40% of children in higher-income families. The low percentage of people who receive regular dental care is troubling. According to the CDC, most oral diseases are avoidable, with the timely administration of preventive care.5 Failure to address oral health with timely preventive care may result in costly visits to hospital emergency rooms, especially for children in low-income households.
There are many contributing factors to this disparity. Identifying dental providers who accept Medicaid and other public dental insurance can be difficult. Transportation and finding participating providers are significant barriers for low-income and rural populations. In addition, lack of understanding and emphasis on the importance of oral health and oral healthcare by individuals and health professionals can be a significant barrier to accessing such care.
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