Video by Kerri McCune/CNS-TV
COLUMBIA — The Maryland Dental Action Coalition recently celebrated its progress in providing dental healthcare to children throughout the state with its first ever Oral Health Summit.
The event, in part, honored 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, who died in 2007 after an untreated tooth infection spread to his brain. Deamonte’s death sparked a quick response to address the need for better oral health coverage for children throughout Maryland, without regard to their ability to pay.
According to the Dental Action Coalition, Maryland has increased access to dental care by 28 percent since 2006 and increased the number of dental providers participating in the Maryland Medicaid Program by 44 percent. Also, the Pew Center on the States, a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts, ranked Maryland as the top state in the nation for meeting the dental needs of children.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) spoke at the summit about his efforts to push Obama’s healthcare bill through congress.
“I shall not rest until every single child has access to dental care,” he said.
The summit also outlined a five-year oral health plan that focuses on three main areas: access to oral health care, oral disease and injury Prevention and oral health literacy and education. The plan also seeks to provide oral healthcare to Maryland adults as well as children.