A new study shows tooth decay is a serious health issue for children in Cass County. The study, commissioned by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, was conducted by University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit. The report noted that despite national goals to address dental problems in children, the prevalence of dental decay has increased in the past 10 years in Michigan. “Having this information available will hopefully encourage parents to begin dental care earlier, both in the home, as well as at a dentist’s office,” stated Heather Merrill, director of Cass County Great Start Collaborative.
The study reviewed 12,000 dental screens of young children in Head Start and other early learning programs across Michigan. It calls for expansion of the Healthy Kids Dental program, which vastly improves access to dental care for Medicaid-eligible children by offering dentists a reimbursement rate to help cover their costs. A summary of the report can be found at www.greatstartforkids.org.