Childhood tooth decay is the leading chronic health condition for children in the US. Poor oral health can harm children’s quality of life, their performance at school, and their success later in life. Unfortunately, many children in North Carolina have limited access to a dentist, often because they live in one of the state’s 165 “Dental Access Shortage Areas.”

Current state regulations prevent anyone – including children – from receiving basic preventive care from a dental hygienist, unless they first see the dentist. For thousands of children, this is an insurmountable barrier because there is no dentist where they live, or they can’t afford to see one.

Proposed changes

would waive the so-called “Prior Exam Rule” in dental shortage areas across the state. Thousands of children would be able to receive fluoride varnishes, sealants, and other highly-effective measures to give more kids a shot at a bright smile and a brighter future.

Share your story

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child without access to dental care, please share in your comments what this proposed regulation means to you and the children you care about.