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‘Rural Children In Crisis’ Brings Light To Dental Care Disparities In Rural Missouri

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Alex Beauchamp
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Overall dental decay rates of schoolchildren in Missouri are higher among children from rural counties.
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Missouri children who have Medicaid as their primary dental insurance have severely limited access to dental care, which leads to their experiencing tooth decay at a rate higher than the national average.

“That's what I found in practice, when I was taking care of children and looking at their teeth,” said Dr. Carol Berger, assistant professor of nursing at Maryville University. She’s the narrator and creator of the new documentary “Rural Children in Crisis: Access to Missouri Oral Care.” The documentary started with research Berger conducted as an University of Missouri–St. Louis doctoral student.

“In rural Missouri, I was seeing just unbelievable decay.”

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Rod Milam spoke with Berger about her new documentary highlighting disparities in dental care for children in rural Missouri — and what needs to be done to prevent young kids from experiencing tooth decay.

Rural Children in Crisis: Access to Missouri Oral Care

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Paola Rodriguez is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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