Help Maine kids get the preventative oral care they need
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As a dentist in Près Isle, I have seen that oral health is overall health. Early in my career in private practice, I saw families who could afford to come to our dental office. Later, while working with the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP), I learned that many Head Start students did not have a dentist.
I established St. Apollonia Dental Clinic provide a dental home for children excluded from dental care. This clinic has been operating for over nine years and is a comprehensive, quality and caring dental center for thousands of children.
Unfortunately, there are still thousands of children we are not reaching. They are invisible to us. Some will never have a dental visit until they have an urgent problem and end up at the local emergency department. A system must be in place to locate and provide resources for these children.
DL 1501, a law to protect the oral health of Maine children, will fill this gap by expanding the Maine CDC’s school oral health program to provide oral health services to all schools. This will help us find children who are currently invisible to us and ensure they are connected to care.
Having good oral health is essential to overall health and being able to come to school ready to learn. I encourage our legislators to fund LD 1501 so that we can help Maine children get the preventative oral care they need and deserve.
Dr. Norma Desjardins
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