Pourat, Nadereh and Gina Nicholson. UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, November 2009. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood and affects nearly 60% of children in the United States. In 2007, approximately 7% of school-age children in California missed at least one day of school due to a dental problem. The ability to afford needed care is the key difference between those children who miss school and those who do not. This report examines the link between unaffordable dental care and missed school days, especially among children who are uninsured, lower-income, limited English-proficient, Asian American, and who have poor oral health.