PORTLAND, Maine — June 12, 2015 – From the First Tooth, a pediatric oral health initiative led and administered by MaineHealth, has been awarded an $8,000 grant from the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation to improve communication and referrals between pediatric primary care providers and dentists. Grant funds will be used to support Dining with the Dentists, a series of events for medical and dental providers to sit down over a meal and discuss pediatric health and oral health issues affecting our local communities.
“Although the national standard is for all children to have their first dental visit by age one, it is not a reality for many children in Maine,” said Kneka Smith, MPH, director of From the First Tooth (FTFT) at MaineHealth. “Our goal for Dining with the Dentists is to encourage physicians and dentists to better collaborate to improve the oral health of young children across Maine.”
FTFT representatives will work with the Maine Dental Association, local dental societies, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and others to coordinate eight Dining with the Dentists events throughout Maine. During these events, medical and dental providers introduce themselves, describe their respective practices, and discuss how to better coordinate dental referrals for children in their communities. FTFT anticipates these events will help increase the number and quality of referrals from medical providers to dentists for pediatric patients under the age of three years.
“We are proud to partner with MaineHealth on From the First Tooth to help draw attention to the important connection between oral health and overall health for Maine’s youngest children,” said, Crystal Carroll, Manager of Community Relations at Northeast Delta Dental.
FTFT is a statewide pediatric oral health initiative promoting the oral health of infants, toddlers and preschool children. The initiative focuses on engaging pediatric medical providers to integrate oral assessments, application of fluoride varnishes, parent education and dental referrals as standard medical care. Funded by the Sadie and Harry Davis Foundation, FTFT is administered by MaineHealth in partnership with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and Maine General Health.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Franklin Community Health Network, LincolnHealth, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Memorial Hospital, Pen Bay Healthcare, Southern Maine Health Care, Waldo County Healthcare, Western Maine Health, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Health, Mid Coast Health Services, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland and St. Mary's Health System. www.mainehealth.org.
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