The Partnership for Children’s Oral Health (Partnership) is a network of organizations and individuals united by a shared mission: to eradicate dental disease in Maine children. Creating a Maine where no child experiences dental disease will demand bold solutions, collaborative action, and system changes on many levels. The Partnership’s goal is to catalyze collaboration and innovation in order to expand Maine’s capacity to ensure that effective prevention, education, and treatment tools reach all children in Maine.
Too many children nationally and in Maine suffer from poor oral health. Dental caries (which cause tooth decay and cavities) is the most common chronic disease in children even though it is preventable and treatable. Many children lack access to dental disease prevention treatments such as fluoride varnish and dental sealants. Historically, dental care and medical care are delivered and reimbursed through different systems; for many reasons oral health care is less available across Maine. Lack of money and insurance, as well as fear and other barriers keep families away from routine dental care. Dental disease can affect children’s overall health, self-confidence, school readiness and future employment success. Poor oral health in childhood contributes to serious and costly complications for health and economic stability later in life.