Media Coverage

KBIA Public Radio: Why Missouri Is Falling Short on Children's Dental Health

The Pew Charitable Trust recently released a report or oral health that didn’t speak too highly of Missouri. On an A through F scale, it gave the state a D for its efforts to provide access to dental sealants for high-need kids. Dental sealants are plastic coatings put on children’s molars after they first come in that help prevent decay.

“The thing about sealants is that the kids who most need them are the least likely to get them, and that’s one of the reasons we did this report. Low income kids, minority kids, high risk kids, they’re the ones who can most benefit from prevention and are the least likely to get sealants,” said Shelly Gehshan, Director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign.

Gehshan says the best way to get to these high-risk kids is in schools where hygienists come to make sure high-need kids have sealants. That’s one of the four factors the Pew report used to grade the states. According to the report, Missouri is one of only 4 states in the country that has no school based programs for high risk areas.

“Missouri clearly is not making this a priority,” Gehshan said.

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Children's Dental Policy
Access to Dental Care, Sealants, Children's Health

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