I hope everyone read with alarm the Jan. 30 article “State workers brace for layoffs” pointing out the potential elimination of Division of Public Health, Oral Health Section for budget cuts. Dentists certainly did.
The elimination of this program would be nothing short of catastrophic for the growing number of our children who need dental preventive services and referrals for restorative care. Dental decay in children is five times more common than asthma. The children’s services provided by the public health dental staff are often the first opportunity to stop tooth decay before it begins or to inform parents of needed care. In the U. S., an estimated 51 million school hours per year are lost because of dental-related illness. It is important for children to be free of dental pain so they can arrive at school ready to learn.
It is astounding that the state leaders are considering the elimination of a nationally recognized public health dental program that uses scientific best practices to deliver preventive and educational dental services. The N. C. dental community urges the General Assembly to maintain the Oral Health Section.