The stark facts about the state of children’s oral health in California are pretty hard to swallow.

Nearly half of all kids depend on Denti-Cal, a state-run program, for dental care. But study after study has shown that millions of kids are not being well-served by Denti-Cal. Nearly 6.3 million — two-thirds of all kids in the state — suffer from poor oral health by 3rd grade.

Access is a huge problem. Only about one-fourth of the state’s dentists will even see Denti-Cal patients. Four counties have no dentists at all that will serve them, and in four others, there’s only one dentist for up to 3,000 kids. And now, almost 800,000 more kids are being transferred to Denti-Cal from another state program, due to a change in the law -- making access even more of a problem.

The predictable result? One recent year, among children up to 2 enrolled in Denti-Cal, fewer than 10% had even had a preventative check-up! Dental disease also is one of the top reasons kids miss school — 500,000 of them in 2011 alone — as well as seriously impacting their ability to concentrate and learn. And tens of thousands of emergency room visits by children each year are for preventable dental problems.

Let’s face it, the state of our kids' oral health is so rotten, California needs a root canal!

There’s been a lot of debate about providing more healthy school lunches. Who can oppose that? But what if dental problems affect kids’ ability to even eat — and properly digest — those more wholesome school meals?

Clearly, California is facing a real crisis in children’s oral health.

Will we face up to it?

Please join the Campaign to Save Kids' Teeth!

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