California meets half of the eight policy benchmarks for improving children's dental health, but children in the state still face significant barriers to accessing care. A recent study by Children Now revealed that one in five California children under age 12 had never seen a dentist.1 To help alleviate this problem, stakeholders in the state are exploring innovative ways to expand the dental workforce. Pew is supporting a campaign in California to authorize a new type of dental provider who can offer primary care.
Although the state does not yet meet the benchmark for water fluoridation, it has improved significantly since 2006, with over half of the state now receiving the benefits of fluoridated water.
1. Children Now, “California Report Card 2011: Setting the Agenda for Children,” Children Now (2011), 54. http://www.childrennow.org/uploads/documents/reportcard_2011.pdf, (accessed February 11, 2011).