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Oral health, too often neglected in discussions of children’s health and health care access, is the single greatest unmet need for health services among children. In California, the disparity in oral health between poor and affluent children is among the worst in the US. The consequences are severe, both for the children and for our society. Nearly half a million children a year miss school due to a toothache or other oral health problems. School performance by children with poor oral health suffers by comparison to their peers. This disparity reflects the shortcomings in our social safety net of publicly funded health care services.

This new issue brief reviews the key factors affecting oral health care for children in California, particularly from low-income families, and offers recommendations.

Related Grants

This policy brief by the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health looks at what happens when low-income youth and young adults with chronic conditions and disabilities age out of the Title V Program for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and provides policy recommendations.

This policy brief by the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health investigates the changes that result when low-income youth and young adults with disabilities lose their childhood eligibility status under SSI following the age 18 redetermination process and provides policy recommendations.