Pandemic leaves 4,000 Boston public school students without dental care

Nearly 4,000 Boston children have lost their access to dental care due to public schools' pandemic-induced suspension of dental programs for students who may not otherwise receive services, The Boston Globe reported.

Boston schools are only letting a limited number of organizations inside to support student health, and many of the students who used to receive in-school dental checkups do not have a family dentist or dental insurance. The school district is looking for "creative ways to provide in-person services" to these students, according to The Boston Globe.

Studies show a significant correlation between poor oral health and learning loss and the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. Students who are most vulnerable are Black, Latinx or low-income, according to The Boston Globe.

"We know that children who are in pain from oral health issues are not able to learn [as well]," Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, CEO of DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute, told The Boston Globe. "For many students, going to the dental clinic inside their schools is their first encounter with an oral health specialist, and for others the clinic is their only source of oral health care."

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