NY dental school provides care to foster kids

A partnership between the New York University College of Dentistry and a foster care agency has provided dental care to more than 650 children in New York.

The success of Partners Against Caries (PAC), both for the children and dental school students, was outlined October 21 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, according to a press release.

Low-income children, especially those in foster care, are less likely to receive regular dental care, and, as a result, face a greater risk of caries and myriad oral health-related problems -- from heart disease, diabetes, and oral cancer to low self-esteem and depression. According to Healthy Foster Care America, approximately 35% of children and teens enter foster care with significant dental and oral health problems.

The partnership shifted dental services for these children from multiple providers to a single "dental home" in the spring of 2011. Through PAC, the children, ages 18 months to 21 years, receive dental exams, cleanings, fluoride treatment, and family education at two foster care facilities, as well as transportation and referrals to the college's dental clinics for more complex care.

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