To the Editor:

As the CEO of Community Concepts, I have the privilege of working with our Children’s Services Department that provides Head Start services for the children and families of Oxford and Franklin counties. Our Head Start program works to ensure enrolled children have their health care needs met and that they are connected to a dental home at their first tooth. We know our low-income families face many barriers in getting their child(ren) dental services, and we also know that children who struggle with oral health or dental disease face greater challenges in school.

We do our best to assist families in finding preventive dental care for their children by making referrals, offering dental clinics on-site, providing education on oral health care at home, and more! However, when they age out of our program and enter the public-school system, many of these children and families are left without support to manage their dental care.

For these reasons, I am asking the Maine State Legislature to support LD 1501: An Act to Protect Oral Health for Children in Maine. This bill will strengthen our public health infrastructure addressing some of the challenges faced when attempting to connect children to care as well as ensuring all children receive an oral health screening, fluoride varnish, and sealants in school.

This bill will help ensure all of Maine’s children can grow up free from dental disease and have a better opportunity to be successful in school and in life.

C. Shawn Yardley

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