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Introduction: Oral health is an often overlooked aspect of healthcare with many effects on an individual’s well-being. Dental caries is the most common chronic disease in children, and most dental problems are preventable. Barriers to accessing dental care for low income children include: oral health beliefs of parents, transportation issues, and difficulty locating providers who accept Medicaid. Investigation of the pediatrician’s role showed an increase in dental visits among children who were recommended for care by their primary care providers. Recent data indicates that 67.1% of Vermont Medicaid enrolled children received dental care within one calendar year. While indicating a gap in services, this is the highest rate in the U.S. A comprehensive national survey found that 85% of Vermont children received preventive care in the past year, while recent state data shows that 18% of Vermont children on Medicaid and 16% of children overall have untreated dental decay. In 2009, The Ronald McDonald House Charities, along with the Health Center of Plainfield, implemented the Vermont Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (RMCM), a traveling dental clinic providing dental care for Vermont’s underserved children. In one year, the RMCM visited 15 Vermont schools and treated 214 children, only 9% of the 2400 children projected. The RMCM currently serves sites in three Counties: Grand Isle, Orange, and Lamoille. The objective of our study was to investigate barriers to access to Dental care among Vermont children, with particular regard to the RMCM. The underutilization of the RMCM was assessed by researching current data on Vermont oral health and by surveying overall attitudes toward both the RMCM and Towns the RMCM visited in the past year pediatric dental care in Vermont.


Pam Fenimore, Ronald McDonald House

Jill Jemison, University of Vermont College of Medicine


Ronald McDonald House


Access to Health Services, Oral Health


Presented at the American Public Health Association 139th Annual Meeting & Exposition, Washington, DC, October 30, 2011

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Assessing Barriers to Community Pediatric Dental Needs