At Community Concepts we work with families who face significant barriers to getting basic services for their children, and we see first-hand how these barriers prevent children from getting dental care.

There are few dental practices taking new MaineCare patients, and those that do are often so far away that getting children to dental checkups requires taking a full day off from work.

This is why LD 1501: An Act to Protect Oral Health for Children in Maine is so important. LD 1501 would expand the Maine School Oral Health Program so that all schools could participate in the oral health screenings and fluoride varnish services they provide.

Our Head Start teachers help children learn to brush and promote good oral health practices, but we are not always successful at connecting our children to a dental office. Brushing and flossing is most effective when paired with services like fluoride varnish and sealants, which can only be provided by a dental professional.

Providing basic preventive services in school settings removes the biggest challenges our families face to launching a lifetime of good oral health. It is a shame that anyone must live with poor oral health when we have affordable and effective tools that can prevent dental decay.

I encourage the Legislature to fund LD 1501 in the supplemental budget to help all children in Maine get these essential preventive services they need to grow up healthy.

C. Shawn Yardley, Bangor, Community Concepts CEO (Lewiston)

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