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North Carolina Launches Head Start Dental Home Initiative

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – The North Carolina Head Start-State Collaboration Office and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), today announced the launch of the Head Start Dental Home Initiative to improve oral health for North Carolina children.

The program links 22,000 children birth to age 5 in the state's Head Start and Early Head Start programs to local dentists who will provide them with a "dental home" that offers comprehensive, ongoing oral health care delivered in a family-centered way. It will also equip parents, caregivers and Head Start staff with the latest information on the prevention of tooth decay.

Part of a national AAPD and Head Start program, the initiative will also train teams of pediatric and general dentists and Head Start personnel in oral health care practices and assist Head Start programs in accessing services to meet the full range of children's oral health needs.

"Access to oral health services is the number one health issue affecting Head Start programs nationwide," said North Carolina Dental Society president, Dr. Dan Cheek. "This program is extremely important to children in our state who previously had little or no access to oral health care."

Khari Garvin, Director of the N.C. Head Start-State Collaboration Office, says the new program will be highly beneficial to at-risk children and families in North Carolina. "This is especially true for rural areas and those part of the Migrant/Seasonal Head Start system."

For more information about the AAPD-Head Start Dental Home Initiative or how to become involved, please visit http://www.aapd.org/headstart.

About the N.C. Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society, founded in 1856, represents 3,800 dentists in North Carolina. The NCDS promotes the practice of dentistry, operates a variety of oral care outreach programs for children and adults, advocates for dental issues, provides consumer information relating to dentistry, and manages a host of services for dentists in the state ranging from insurance to continuing education. Visit the NCDS website to learn more: www.ncdental.org.

About AAPD

Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a national not-for-profit organization representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. AAPD's 7,700 members are predominately pediatric dentists and primary care providers who deliver comprehensive specialty treatments for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special health care needs. For further information, please visit the AAPD Web site at www.aapd.org.

About The Office of Head Start

The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families. Head Start's main focus is on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills needed to be successful in school. Head Start programs promote children's' school readiness by enhancing their social and cognitive development through education, health, nutritional, social and other services.

SOURCE: North Carolina Dental Society

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