Dental Kits to be distributed to 4,000 Aroostook County Children

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 1:16 PM EDT
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY—As families try to make ends meet during the pandemic, more than 100 organizations across the state are working together to make sure that children in Maine won’t have to worry about having access to oral health supplies. Locally partners are working together to distribute 4,000 dental kits to children living in Aroostook County.

Dental disease is the most common chronic disease among children and children living in poverty are at higher risk. Despite COVID-19, dental disease persists and is even more dangerous in a time when preventive and restorative care is halted and visiting the emergency room is not a safe option. Many children who rely on school-based oral health services for their only access to preventive care will not be seen until fall at the earliest. As parents lose jobs and household incomes plummet, families may rely on less expensive carbohydrate-rich and processed foods, which also increase dental decay. All of this means that oral health prevention efforts at home are more critical than ever. Yet, as families must stretch their budgets, oral health supplies might not be at the top of their mind or the top of their grocery list.

"This need existed before and will exist beyond COVID-19. We are happy to help supply these decay prevention materials while raising awareness of dental disease and its prevalence in children. This is a basic health issue addressed in our everyday work. In support of Maine families and because prevention is vitally important, we're providing tools for good daily brushing habits." said Dr. Norma Desjardins, Executive Director of the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic in Presque Isle.

With support from Partnership for Children’s Oral Health, a coalition from Aroostook County, including: St. Apollonia Dental Clinic, United Way of Aroostook, Aroostook County Action Program and Katahdin Trust Company, has been busy coordinating efforts to ensure that children in Aroostook County receive the dental kits which will include: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and information about the importance of preventative care at home and where to find emergency care during this pandemic. These comprehensive dental kits will be distributed though the school lunch programs throughout Aroostook County in an effort to reach children most in need. Local families should expect to see the dental kits available in their communities at the end of May.