CHICAGO, Illinois--Oral Health America, Trident gum, and Maryland leaders are celebrating Children's Dental Health Month (February 2010) and the expansion of the Deamonte Driver Dental Project
Oral Health America is honoring the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society Foundation's Deamonte Driver Dental Project, a school-based community oral health initiative in Prince George's County, Md., with a $20,000 grant award.
The grant is made possible through a $1.5 million, three-year commitment from Trident gum to Oral Health America's Smiles Across America program.
"Dental care is an essential part of appropriate medical care," said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) in a statement about the award. "In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver from Prince George's County died from a brain infection caused by a tooth abscess. Treating a cavity takes very little time or effort, but the death of a child from tooth decay is a national tragedy we must make sure never happens again."
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) added: "The painful lesson learned from the needless and tragic death of Deamonte Driver is that without access to quality dental care, every child in America is at risk. Because of the support from Oral Health America, the Deamonte Driver Dental Project will ensure that children in our community who are most vulnerable to dental disease will receive the care they so desperately need."
Founded by Robert T. Freeman Dental Society members Drs. Hazel Harper and Belinda Carver-Taylor, with the encouragement of state Senator Ulysses Currie and Dental Director Dr. Harry Goodman, the Deamonte Driver Dental Project was launched in 2008 to ensure that no child in Prince George's County would lack access to needed dental services.
"On behalf of the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society Foundation, I am thrilled with the award for the Deamonte Driver Dental Project," said Dr. Harper. "Deamonte left a legacy for the children of Prince George's County, and for the entire country, that we will not walk away from. Thank you to all of our supporters who are working in collaboration with us to ensure that all children get the dental care they need."
The Smiles Across America grant will provide funding to support the expansion of school-based dental care in Prince George's County.
"Oral Health America applauds Maryland's efforts and the work of the Deamonte Driver Dental Project," said Beth Truett, president and CEO, Oral Health America. "We celebrate Children's Dental Health Month with this gift, recognizing the National Dental Association, Robert T. Freeman Dental Society Foundation, Senator Cardin, Congressman Cummings, and community leaders who are bringing needed oral health services to life."
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