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UB rural dentistry program for children expanding to more counties

The University at Buffalo S-Miles To Go Mobile Dental Program has received a nearly 50 percent increase in state funding to expand access to oral health care to underserved children in Oswego, St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties.

The program -- which also serves Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Livingston counties -- works in collaboration with the Rural Dentistry Pilot Project to assist rural patients. UB credited State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, with helping obtain the additional money.

The increase will allow the programs to purchase portable dental equipment that can be transported to schools, allowing dental hygienists to visit the sites and perform oral health screenings, cleanings, sealants and fluoride treatment, UB officials said.

Sixty-three percent of children treated on the mobile dental unit have untreated cavities, significantly higher than the cavity rates for third-grade children statewide, according to data gathered by UB. Moreover, only a quarter of the children visited a dentist in the past year, compared to 83 percent statewide.