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Senate: Public Health – Dental Services for Adults – Coverage and Access

SB 431, Support

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

SB 431 would require the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMAP) to provide dental services to postpartum women during a specified period and for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in conjunction with specified entities, to work with stakeholders to identify options for expanding access to dental services.

The Catholic Church has consistently supported legislation that meets the needs of people who are vulnerable in society. Dental care is a constant health care need that should not end with the birth of child. There is a growing realization of the connection between the mother’s oral health and the child’s oral health. For example, high levels of oral bacteria and poor oral health in mothers easily increases the risk of their children acquiring caries, the most chronic childhood disease in the United States, through bacteria in mothers’ saliva . It is imperative to promote the health and wellness of both women and children by expanding MMAP dental services to postpartum women.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and urges your favorable support of SB 431.