According to a report by the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, the State of Florida received failing grades in policies to protect children’s dental health. The report claims that Florida is doing relatively little to make dental sealants available to low-income, school-aged children.
“With state and federal budget cuts affecting nearly every sector of public spending, it’s impossible to attain funding to pay for the increasing needs of an expanding, low-income population,” said Wellington’s Dr. Laurence Grayhills, spokesman of the Florida Academy of General Dentistry. “To place the burden and responsibility upon any one group, especially the dental healthcare providers of the State of Florida is not realistic. This is an issue of societal priorities which ultimately relates to public spending and/or the focus of charity organizations.”
In a letter to Dr. Donald Thomas, past president of the Florida Academy of General Dentistry, Sen. Marco Rubio wrote, “I am committed to fully repealing ObamaCare. Americans are in need of healthcare reform that will promote a vibrant private market where they are free to buy health insurance to fit their individual needs at affordable prices.”
Grayhills said that “promoting a vibrant private healthcare market will not help the underserved population in question in the Pew report and that funding, such as that outlined by the federal government, is designed to assist those who cannot afford to purchase medical or dental care.”
“Sealant placement on kids is tough even under the best circumstances and is not without costs, especially for high-risk children,” Thomas said. “The (Pew) study is not a good indicator of quality of care for states and should not be considered. Demographics play a larger role on state compliance. Socio-economic and census indicators must be included. Look at the states with the highest grade and those with the lowest. The more populated and diverse states receive the lower grades.”
Grayhills went on to note, “In addition to an increase in public funding and volunteerism to solve this dental public health shortfall, the federal government could consider a forgiveness of loans to dental students who choose to practice in an underserved, rural or impoverished area of the state. Any solution to Florida’s deficit in access-to-care will require funding from some source other than the patient.”
KnowYourTeeth.com is the Academy of General Dentistry’s source of consumer information on dental care and oral health. For more about the AGD, visit www.agd.org. For more on Grayhills, visit www.grayhillsdental.com.