A project inspired by the death of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, a boy who died in 2007 of a brain infection because he did not receive proper dental care, focuses on providing dental health education of underserved children in Prince George's County, Maryland.
The Deamonte Driver Project visits nine elementary schools in the area, offering dental checkups and educating the community on how to advocate for better dental care.
"More than 130 million adults and children lack any form of dental insurance," said Dr Hazel J. Harper, co-founder and director of the project, to The Washington Informer.
"Children who are uninsured, across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups, have rates of unmet dental needs that are between three and four times those of their peers who are covered by any form of insurance," Harper added.
Unmet dental health needs can have serious consequences for children. Poor dental health has been linked to diabetes, childhood obesity and other chronic ailments. Poor performance in school is also an issue, as children miss school due to dental disease, or chronic tooth pain distracts students from their studies.
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