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Pew Report Gives NC an "F" in Child Dental Care

North Carolina could be doing a better job of preventing tooth decay in children. A new Pew Center report gives the state an "F" for taking care of kids teeth. Doctor Bill Maas is a public health dentist and a policy advisor for the Pew Children's Dental Campaign. He says painting a clear plastic sealant coating on the permanent molars of second graders is an efficient way to prevent cavities.

Bill Maas: "These programs are typically targeted to schools where 50 percent or more of the children are on free or reduced lunch which is an indication that the children are of low income and again the children are more at risk of not receiving dental care or not receiving sealants in a timely manor. And in the case of North Carolina less than 25 percent of such schools had a school-based sealant program."

Maas says the program saves money by preventing tooth decay. He says filling a cavity is three times as expensive as the sealant treatment.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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