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Governor O'Malley Touts New Dental Project For Poverty-Stricken Schoolchildren

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The new H1N1 flu virus is a big concern for school children right now, but Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is reminding students about another health concern--dental care.

At Seat Pleasant elementary school in Prince Georges County, students sang a song about brushing their teeth for O'Malley. He was there touting a new dental project, which offers dental screenings at eight county elementary schools to students at or below the poverty line.

Congressman Elijah Cummings related a story from his childhood in south Baltimore. Growing up poor, he said, meant cavity care came from a medicine cabinet.

The dental project is named for Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy from Clinton, who died two years ago after an abscess on a tooth went to his brain. His mother had no dental insurance. Cummings says all Driver needed was an $80 tooth extraction.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 30 percent of all school-age children and 50 percent of all children in the Head Start program suffer from dental cavities.

Matt Bush reports......

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