October 1, 2022

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Sen. Ned Claxton: Dental care is health care, and all Maine children need access to it

4 min read

Ned Claxton

Most of us never consider the influence of oral health and fitness on our over-all wellness and properly-remaining — until we have a challenge.

The mouth is the gateway to the system, and what transpires in our mouth can influence the relaxation of our overall body. This can assortment from dental infections spreading from the mouth to other pieces of the human body, to the connections concerning gum condition and blood sugar concentrations or blood stress.

Numerous a long time expended serving as a primary care doctor have offered a great deal of evidence that obtain to dental treatment is a essential portion of general overall health. As chair of the Maine Legislature’s Wellbeing and Human Companies Committee, it is now even a lot more crystal clear to me, and to the committee as a total, that getting normal preventive dental treatment stays a substantial challenge for far way too lots of kids in Maine.

The pandemic has manufactured several factors of life more challenging than they employed to be accessing dental treatment is no exception. Even in advance of COVID-19 strike Maine, there had been lots of obstacles that saved little ones from getting simple dental treatment. In truth, in 2019 Maine ranked 49th among states, surpassing only North Dakota, on federally necessary reporting on the share of children with Medicaid acquiring dental services.

1 essential ingredient of the solution to this issue is the Maine Heart for Disorder Management and Prevention’s University Oral Health and fitness Application. It brings oral health screenings, fluoride varnish and sealants proper to pupils where by they already are: in university. These oral wellbeing solutions are well-confirmed to avert cavities and aid little ones expand up with out dental decay.

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Providing solutions in faculties gets rid of the obstacles that keep small children from having to a dental workplace for a checkup. However, the program at present lacks the assets to provide all colleges in the point out. Eligibility to participate is minimal to elementary educational institutions in which more than 40% of their college students qualify for cost-free or lessened lunch. Even so, there are college students at each and every college in the condition who want these critical oral wellbeing products and services in the school setting. 

This yr the Legislature has the possibility to extend school oral wellness products and services to all college students across Maine. LD 1501, “An Act to Guard Oral Overall health for Young children in Maine,” opens eligibility for the Faculty Oral Wellness Program so that all colleges can take part.

The bill restores a a lot-wanted oral overall health coordinator situation at the Maine CDC to make sure the program’s efficiency and a facts-driven approach. This coordinator will give public well being management on oral health and fitness problems for all ages in Maine and protected federal grant funding that we are at this time lacking out on due to the absence of staff capacity.

Ultimately, to construct a route for sustainable funding for the college software, the invoice directs the condition to get started to investigate how to fund these services in a way that maximizes Medicaid bucks, which can provide in about $2.50 in federal resources for just about every $1 the point out spends on children’s dental care.

Great oral health is connected to improved academic achievements and better employment alternatives as grownups. The military services appreciates this all far too nicely, as dental troubles are one of the top wellbeing issues that make personnel non-deployable. A wholesome mouth is certainly significant to lengthy-time period accomplishment.

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As the Appropriations and Fiscal Affairs Committee considers the governor’s supplemental finances, I am proud that the Health and Human Solutions Committee has unanimously voted to help the addition of funding for LD 1501. This is a cost-powerful bipartisan answer that will help thousands of children, here in our districts and across our state, get the preventive care they have to have.

Oral wellness is health and fitness, and all Maine kids ought to have the ideal balanced get started we can give them.

Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, is serving his 2nd expression in the Maine Senate, symbolizing Auburn, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester and Poland. He co-chairs the Well being and Human Services committee and serves on the Point out and Regional Federal government Committee.


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