Federal funds help expand dental care for children

By BECKY McKENDRY

Capital News Service

LANSING – Smiles in Michigan will soon be a little brighter – and healthier – thanks to a recent federal grant.

The Department of Community Health will use a $1.3 million grant to expand oral health programs in Mecosta and Genesee counties. The grant is from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

In Mecosta County, the funds will expand the SEAL! Michigan program that places hygiene students in elementary and middle schools to provide sealants and dental education.

Partnering schools include dental hygiene programs at Ferris State University and the University of Michigan.

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Plan would add rules for mobile dental care

By MATTHEW HALL

Capital News Service

LANSING – A new bill would add more regulations for “mobile dental facilities” that bring dental services to disadvantaged children.

Dentist Van

The bill aims to provide better documentation of services and to prevent incompetent practitioners from harming patients, supporters say.

“It isn’t meant to stop access because it’s a wonderful service, but to make sure bad apples don’t spoil it by having minimal standards of care,” said Rep. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, the lead sponsor.

Organizations like Smiles on Wheels and Michigan Dental Outreach work sort of like blood drives, MacGregor said.

They use vans to transport much of the equipment found in a dentist’s office to facilities like schools and senior centers. They take the equipment into the school, sanitize a work space and provide both preventive and restorative care.

Cosponsors include Reps. Thomas Hooker, R-Byron Center; Jon Switalski, D-Warren; and Frank Foster, R-Petoskey.

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