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Maintaining or restoring oral health is an essential part of being healthy. Yet poor oral health while completely preventable, is the most prevalent chronic illness in children and adults.

Access to dental care is a primary concern for Maine people, especially low income individuals or those who live in areas with few dental providers. The impact of poor oral health can extend beyond just health concerns. School children with dental pain have trouble concentrating and learning in school. Adults with missing teeth have trouble getting jobs.

Every year, MeHAF has provided grant and program support to promote better oral health. A significant proportion of our support has been directed to Maine’s network of dental safety net clinics that include community health centers (also called federally-qualified health centers of FQHCs) and stand-alone dental safety net clinics.

Since 2002, our focus on oral health has included the following:

  • Grants: MeHAF’s funding has helped begin or expand the capacity of Maine’s oral health safety net.
  • Education, technical assistance and support for grantees: MeHAF has partnered with Boston-based Safety Net Solutions to provide technical assistance aimed at improving the quality and cost efficiency of care in safety net clinics.
  • Sharing what we’re learning with others: MeHAF participates in the statewide Maine Oral Health Funders group to share best practices and design collaborative grantmaking. Current grant funding focuses on primary prevention of dental disease in young children.
  • Evaluating our work through reports, white papers, and publications.

For more information, contact Program Officer I Charles Dwyer.

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