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DHMH Press Releases : State Receives $1.5 M Federal Funding to Expand Oral Health Efforts

State Receives $1.5 M Federal Funding to Expand Oral Health Efforts
 
Baltimore, MD (September 5, 2013) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced today that the DHMH Office of Oral Health has been awarded a five year, $1.5 million “State Oral Disease Prevention Program” grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The aim of the grant is to expand efforts in improving the oral health of Maryland residents, particularly children and adults who are most at risk for oral diseases such as tooth decay (cavities). Maryland is one of 21 states to receive this competitive award from CDC which is renewable for up to five years.
 
“Since the unfortunate death of a 12-year old Maryland child to untreated dental disease in 2007, we have made oral health a priority in the state and have achieved significant progress," said Anthony G. Brown, Maryland 's  Lt. Governor. "This funding will help us to  continue to make strides in improving oral healthcare for all especially for children and those who are underserved."
 
Maryland has continued to perform above the national average for providing dental services to children. In CY 2011, the percentage of all Maryland children in Medicaid receiving a dental service was 66.4 percent or 241,149 children compared to the national average for Medicaid (CY 2010) which was 47.8 percent.  By further comparison, in CY 2007, the year of Deamonte Driver's death, 49.3% of all children in the Maryland Medicaid Program or 130,112 children, received a dental service.
 
“With these funds, we can build on our progress to help even more at-risk children and adults to achieve good oral health," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary.
 
The Department intends to use the funds to maintain and build upon current community and clinical based oral disease prevention strategies. Certain best practices will also be expanded including new initiatives in community water fluoridation, school-based dental sealants, surveillance, and oral health literacy. Other funded initiatives from the grant encompass increasing the percentage of state residents who use the oral health care system and increasing the percentage of low-income children and adolescents who receive a preventive dental service.
 
“We are very grateful to the CDC for their continued support,” said Harry Goodman, DMD, MPH, Director, Maryland Office of Oral Health. “Their support has been a critical component in achieving such meaningful progress. We are excited about moving forward and doing even more to continue to improve oral health in Maryland. “
 
For all states, the funding is designed to improve basic state oral health services, including support for program leadership and additional staff as well as monitoring oral disease levels and risk factors for oral disease. The funds also aid in the development of strong partnerships and educating state residents on ways to prevent oral diseases in addition to developing and evaluating oral disease prevention programs. 
 
“With CDC support, the states receiving these awards will be better able to monitor their population’s oral health, identify priorities and target efforts, and expand activities aimed at preventing oral diseases among individuals, families, and communities,” stated Dr. William Bailey, DDS, MPH, Acting Director, CDC Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
 
The CDC oral health program seeks to improve the oral health of communities by extending the use of proven strategies to prevent oral diseases, enhancing monitoring of oral diseases, strengthening the nation’s oral health capacity, and guiding infection control in dentistry.  For more information on oral health, visit the CDC Web site at:  http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/.
 
The Office of Oral Health focuses on improving the oral health of Marylanders, preventing oral diseases and injuries and increasing access to oral health care. For more information on Office of Oral Health programs, please visit:
 
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