New Study Shows Many Missouri Kids Don't Have Access to Dental Care
COLUMBIA - A new Pew report shows that 17 percent of the Missouri population is living in areas with a dentist shortage. The study says the two main reasons for lack of access to dental care is the disproportion of dentists across the nation, and the lack of dentists who accept Medicaid.
The study also shows that more than 50 percent of Missouri kids enrolled in Medicaid didn't receive dental care in 2011.
National standards set by dental organizations recommend for children to visit a dentist every six months.
Jackie Rivera is the Health Manager at the Central Missouri Community Action center. She believes that income and location may be the reasons for this problem.
"A lot of it has to do with living in rural areas, lack of dentists, lack of transportation, a lot of other issues have to do with lack of preventative knowledge," Rivera said.
Rivera said one in five kids are in poverty, and that low income kids are more likley to have dental issues. She said one way to lower these numbers would be to offer preventative education to teach parents and kids about dental health.