Maine's School Oral Health Programs Get A Back-To-School Boost

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Northeast Delta Dental Foundation is helping Maine-based efforts to ensure that school children receive dental services to prevent tooth decay, the most common, chronic, childhood disease. The Foundation awarded $5,000 to Oral Health America in support of the organization's Smiles Across America program, which helps communities build infrastructure for school oral health care. The entire award is allocated for services for uninsured and underinsured children.

"We are grateful for Northeast Delta Dental's partnership and support," said Elizabeth Rogers, Oral Health America's Communications Director. "Disease prevention is critical for children with little or no access to routine dental care. Providing dental sealants, fluoride treatments, and oral exams in schools is a cost-effective model, and part of a community approach to ensuring that our children are able to learn, eat, play, and thrive."

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Smiles Across America brings funding, technical assistance, and donated dental materials to communities committed to improving children's oral health. In Maine, nearly seven in ten people perceive improving children's oral health to be a priority for state officials to consider when earmarking and planning the budget, according to a recent survey on behalf of Medical Care Development.

The survey also found that three out of four Maine residents support proposals to expand access to preventive measures such as sealants and fluoride by offering preventive services through schools. Maine residents say that the principal reason to be concerned with oral health is that children with poor oral health will be more likely to face other health problems.

Oral Health America's Smiles Across America program is made possible in Maine with funding from Ronald McDonald House Charities, Patterson Foundation, and Northeast Delta Dental. Northeast Delta Dental Foundation's grant adds to a Maine funding pool that Oral Health America administers in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services' Oral Health Program. Sites funded include the City of Portland School Oral Health Program, Aroostook County Action Program Oral Health Education Program, and the Washington County Children's Program Child and Youth Dental Program. This is the third year that Oral Health America has provided funds to Maine school oral health programs.

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