Controversial Oral Health Clinics in NYC Schools

It is no secret that there is a lack of access to dental care  across the United States, and The Department of Education in New York is planning to do something about it.  According to a recent New York Post article, beginning next year, oral health-care clinics will provide cleanings, cavity-fillings, oral health education, and even extractions at “historically under-served” schools around New York City.  The DOE worked with the city Health Department to develop the initiative after recognizing the lack of access to comprehensive oral-health care.

Clinics will be set up in rooms designated by school officials and will be open at least one day a week during normal school hours.  Medicaid will be holding financial responsibility but parental consent will be required before any services are rendered.  At this point, the city has targeted eight Brooklyn schools, with others slated if the program is successful.  The DOE claims that more than 51 million school hours are lost annually due to dental-related illness across America, and children living in poor neighborhoods are found to be the most vulnerable.  With tooth decay being one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, the initiative could prove to be extremely successful in the fight against oral disease.  There are still critics however, who believe that the state of New York is too intrusive.  Bob Bowdon, executive director of Choice Media, an education-reform group, believes “if we are going to decide that government and schools are responsible for everything a kid might need in their life, then we have fully replaced parenting.” The pilot program is currently looking for dentists to participate in the initiative.

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