At a time when so many problems seem so intractable, it's good to see government take even a small step toward fixing a big problem.
The 25,000 children in Eastern Kentucky who will get flouride treatments this fall will also help University of Kentucky researchers better understand how to prevent decay.
Kentucky traditionally has the highest rate of tooth loss among older people and above-average tooth loss in all age groups. Because oral health has a huge influence on overall health, preventing decay is one way to produce healthy, productive Kentuckians.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is providing a $1 million grant and state government $250,000 to pay for flouride treatments in 16 counties.
This effort builds on another federal-state collaboration that's helping communities develop effective oral health plans, including educating parents and children, and preparing more dentists to work with kids.
We may not know how to end poverty in Appalachia but we do know how to take care of kids' teeth, and this is a step in the right direction.