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Dental Health

August 10, 1966

Report Outline
Expansion of Dental Care for the Poor
Dimensions of Dental Health Problem
Outlook for Dental Health Improvement

Expansion of Dental Care for the Poor

Dental care, especially dental care for children and for old people, appears slated to become the next major area of social service into which the federal government will move on a large scale. Legislation adopted last year gave the states incentives to provide dental services under established health programs, In addition, Head Start, the anti-poverty project for pre-school children, arranged to give considerably more dental treatment this summer than was available under the program last year. And President Johnson has let it be known that he expects to ask the 90th Congress, convening next January, to authorize a program to protect the dental health of all American children.

The full scope of the President's plan has not been disclosed. Facts, figures, and recommendations to help in formulation of the proposal are still being assembled by federal health, education and welfare specialists. The general idea of a national child dental program of some kind, however, has been gaining strength among those government and professional leaders who are concerned about the widespread neglect of tooth care in this country.

Until recently, dental health had taken something of a back seat in the rapid growth of government health care programs and of voluntary health insurance and other prepayment plans for helping individuals to meet the often heavy costs of private health care. Although dental health entered these fields late and on a relatively modest scale, it has been picking up considerable momentum in both of them.

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