What We Do

Some cross-cutting projects intersect with multiple strategic priorities. One example is our Virtual Dental Home Pilot

Strategic Priorities

Integrating Oral Health into Primary Care

Oral health is closely connected to overall health and well-being. Lack of oral health care in childhood contributes to serious and costly complications for health and economic stability later in life. Yet our healthcare system has historically separated the prevention and treatment of dental disease from other conditions in spite of the fact that the mouth is interconnected with every system in the human body. Many forms of oral health integration are possible both within the medical office and across medical and dental providers.

Health Integration Action Team initiatives include implementing “From the First Tooth,” and other projects supporting medical practices to deliver preventive services within the primary care setting.

Expanding Oral Health in School and Community Settings

Thousands of children in Maine have been going without regular routine preventive care because they are unable to access care in a traditional dental office. When preventive oral health care is provided in schools and childcare settings, many barriers to care are removed; this results in more timely services for children and lifelong improvements in oral health and quality of life.

Our School Action Team convenes partners statewide to develop innovative approaches and collaborative strategies to increase preventive oral health care for children in school and community settings.

Transforming Oral Health Systems to Serve all People in Maine

Children who are covered by MaineCare insurance (Maine's Medicaid program) or who have no dental insurance at all face many barriers to timely dental care. Maine needs more dental providers who will serve children with MaineCare coverage or who need a sliding fee scale to make care affordable. The financing of dental care as currently designed is insufficient to sustain a robust provider network that can serve all people in the state.

To address this challenge, the Network is partnering with the Maine Oral Health Funders on an ambitious collaborative initiative focused on systems change to ensure Maine can provide quality, sustainable, and accessible oral health care for all.

Our Work To Build Capacity Across the Network

Policy

Partners in the Network collaborate to research and develop data-driven and community-informed policy initiatives to advance improvements in children's oral health. We work together on long-term policy development as well as relationship-building and policy-maker education at the state and federal levels.

Data

Network partners collaborate to use oral health data to illustrate the challenges and gaps in the system, and to advance data-driven solutions. We analyze, summarize, and disseminate data to drive policy and program development as well as to help policy-makers understand systemic challenges and potential solutions.

Communications

Network partners collaborate on communication strategies including joint messaging, oral health infographics, an e-newsletter, fact sheets, and letters to the editor.

Equity

Ensuring all children and families have the opportunity and the tools for good oral health is at the heart of our shared mission, with health equity as a core principle of the work that we do across all areas of the Network.