Oral Health

Sherry Laliberte (pictured top-left), a dental hygienist who works at MCD Global Health, conducted dental screenings at numerous Maine elementary schools in 2020. One day, Sherry was screening a 9-year-old girl, and what she saw shocked her. Continued below...

*Top photo of girl and mother not referenced in the story

“Her gums and tissues in her mouth didn’t look normal. Her tongue was fissured, and her gums were overgrown,” she said.

The school nurse checked her medical record and found nothing of concern. Then, her parents’ medical histories were reviewed, and it was discovered that her mother had stage 4 kidney failure that was genetic. The girl was tested, and her results indicated that she had stage 2 kidney failure.

“If I had not caught that, then she could’ve easily progressed to an advanced stage of kidney failure like her mother,” Sherry said.

“Oral health is more than just about teeth; it is about your overall health. We want to identify any problems early on to set individuals up for a lifetime of good oral health.”

Oral Health is Overall Health.

Almost half of Maine children didn’t have dental coverage in 2019, and many children who have coverage are not using their dental benefits.

Integrating oral health into children's primary care as early as possible is vital to ensuring a healthier life into adulthood.

MCD Global Health has several oral health initiatives striving to improve children’s oral health and overall health. Our team is providing routine screenings and sealants to children in Maine and beyond, coordinating with health partners, and exploring innovative approaches to increase access to care.

Our Results

191

Schools visited throughout Maine in 2021 for dental screenings

11,400

Students seen for dental screenings in 2021

16%

Of those students referred for dental care in 2021

School Oral Health Program

Maine CDC logoThe School Oral Health Program, which started as a fluoride-rinse program in the 1970s, is provided through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The program focuses on providing preventative dental services to Maine’s school children; thus, reducing the proportion of school children who have dental decay.

Twice a year, MCD Global Health’s team of registered dental hygienists along with volunteer dentists perform oral screenings and fluoride varnish treatments to students in public schools.

During the 2020-2021 school year, 11,400 students were seen, and 16% were referred for dental care.

MCD Global Health has a long history of providing embedded staffing support to Maine’s public health programs and initiatives.


2022 Poster Contest Winners

To raise awareness about children's dental health, the Maine CDC's SOHP hosts an annual poster contest open to Maine public school students in grades PK-6. This year's ADA theme was "Sealants Make Sense."


Virtual Dental Home

In collaboration with the Partnership for Children’s Oral Health, our team is developing a prototype for a fully integrated medical/dental health care model utilizing virtual dental home technology. A formal planning process will begin in 2022.

Maine Oral Health Coalition

The Maine Oral Health Coalition (MOHC) is a public-private partnership with the goal of improving access to oral care by advocating for quality preventive and comprehensive oral health care, as well as engaging in initiatives that prevent oral disease and promote better care.

What Our Team Says

“I, personally, want to thank you and everyone who made the computers and cameras possible. These new tools truly made a difference in how I was able to do my job this year. More importantly, it gave the nudge that Maine’s children needed to get their dental needs met.”

—Laura Jowdry-Berthiaume, RDH, IPDH
School Oral Health Program Field Hygienist

For questions about MCD's oral health initiatives/programs, please contact:

Sherry Laliberte
Program Manager
Maine School Oral Health Program

slaliberte@mcd.org

News & Updates

Maine CDC, MCD Global Health Raise Awareness on Children’s Dental Health with Poster Contest