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California's Health Care Challenge

California faces the challenge of caring for the largest percentage of children without dental insurance in the country. Tooth Mobile is committed to treating the uninsured and at-risk youth documented in the following reports.
  • According to the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health, released in May of 2000, 108 million Americans live without dental insurance. Uninsured children are 2.5 times less likely to receive dental treatments than their insured peers. The repercussions for untreated oral disorders for children are numerous: lowered self-esteem and self-image, a decline in everyday social interactions, and a vulnerability to suffering from chronic stress or depression. The Surgeon General concluded that compromised oral health affects sleep, nutrition, work, school, and social relationships.
    View the Surgeon General's Report in its entirety. (LINK http://www.nidr.nih.gov/sgr/sgr.htm).

  • A report from the Dental Health Foundation further highlights the effects of minimized access to dental care: "Among school-age children in the U.S., 25% experience 75% of the tooth decay. That 25% typically represents children who are from economically or socially disadvantaged families, children who have some type of disabling condition, or children who experience other barriers to preventive and treatment services."

  • According to the California Oral Health Needs Assessment, conducted in 1993 and 1994, 21 percent of 10th-grade students in California were already suffering from extensive tooth decay, infection, pain, or other urgent dental needs (FIGURE 1). Some degree of tooth decay was found in 78 percent of the students examined, and evidence of the early stages of gum disease in 40 percent. A staggering 44 percent of these California students had no dental health insurance and just 10 percent received dental coverage through Medi-Cal (FIGURE 2). Consequently, 12 percent of 10th graders had never seen the inside of a dentist's office. [George should have these figures]

  • In February of 2000, Tooth Mobile conducted a screening of 102 students at the San Mateo FUTURES Bayshore site. Only 3 of the more than one hundred students did not require follow-up dental procedures. The remaining 99 children required the following treatments:

76% were in need of sealants.
64% were in need of fillings.
22% were in need of Pulpectomies (root canals).
7% were in need of crowns.

Eighty-three percent of the children reported never having seen a dentist.

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