March 23, 2012

CARDIN, CUMMINGS JOIN LT. GOV BROWN TO ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF FIRST MD ORAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN

“Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids” Aims to Help Children Access Dental Care

BALTIMORE– U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) joined U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and other health care and government officials at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry to announce the launch of the “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids” awareness campaign.  The campaign seeks to help children access dental care and promote awareness for critical stages of pediatric oral health care, which is critical to a child’s overall health. 

Senator Cardin, whose proposal created a Department of Health and Human Services’ website to help parents find a local dentist, said:  “There can be no health without oral health care and this new program will provide resources to help parents better understand how to care for their children’s dental needs, including locating dentists who accept Medicaid. It is one way that we’re working to ensure that all children have access to oral health care. We must make sure that what happened to Deamonte Driver never happens again.”

“In 2007, 12 year-old Deamonte Driver tragically died from an untreated tooth infection,” said Anthony G. Brown, Maryland Lt. Governor and Chair of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council. “Since then, Maryland has been committed to improving pediatric oral healthcare for all children ? especially those who are underserved. ‘Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids’ is one more important resource to help inform families in need about potentially life-saving dental care.”

“Both federal and state leaders have worked together to ensure that Deamonte Driver’s death would not be in vain,” said Congressman Cummings. “Through the involvement of all of these stakeholders, I believe this campaign will help to prevent oral disease and educate the public about how to best access the care. I am proud to support the campaign.”

The campaign targets pregnant women and children up to 6 years old.  The campaign website – www.HealthyTeethHealthyKids.org – provides extensive information and tips to drive awareness for critical stages of pediatric oral health care.  The campaign also has a free hotline (1-855-45-TEETH), available in English and Spanish, which provides people with the convenience of speaking with a person who can answer their questions about oral health care or help them find a dentist.