BROOKLYN - It's a painful reality for thousands of Brooklyn and city kids -- the city health department is pulling its free longtime dental health program for good.

The city health department is shutting down its free oral health program by the end of June to save money. The program serves about 17,000 low-income kids in the city at more than 40 sites.

The health department released a statement saying, ?We would very much prefer not to have to make this service reduction. However, lacking other options, the agency decided to eliminate a service that is available from many other sources."

A spokesperson for the health department says it will help families make a transition to a new provider. The spokesperson notes that the majority of low-cost dental services are provided through Medicaid and more than half the children on Medicaid have not been to the dentist in the last year.