Editorial: Expanding dental access

MADISON, Wis. - For most of us, dental health care is a regular if somewhat less-than-desirable part of life. But for far too many people dental care is out of reach, inaccessible and prohibitively costly.

For those people, kids especially, quality of life is lessened dramatically. It’s hard to function when your teeth hurt; the plan makes it hard to work, sleep and learn. So it’s hard to overstate the importance of Gov. Tony Evers’s $43 million investment to expand dental care access.

The budget item expands the program, providing preventative dental services for children with high dental needs in the K-12 system and increasing the number of low-income dental clinics. But perhaps most importantly, it establishes dental therapist licensing to get more mid-level providers into the dwindling dental work force.

Expanded dental care is a big-payoff investment that results in more productive workers, higher-performing students and reduced health costs for more serious problems down the road. It’s a smart move.

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