• Oral Health 2020
    Growing the National Oral Health Network
  • Maryland Oral Health Plan 2018-2023
    A Framework to Improve the Oral Health of All Marylanders
  • Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits in Maryland
    SB 169: MDAC Submits Report
  • Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids
    Tips for Good Oral Health for Your Child


T he mission of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition is to develop and maintain a statewide partnership of individuals and organizations working together to improve the health of all Marylanders through increased oral health promotion, disease prevention, education, advocacy and access to oral health care.

Advocacy and Legislation

MDAC has begun work to develop a comprehensive plan targeting adult oral health in Maryland. In 2014, MDAC spearheaded a successful campaign to persuade the Governor to include an increase in Pediatric Dental Medicaid Rates to the state budget that went into effect January 1, 2015. Read more →

Interprofessional Collaboration

Through MDAC’s network of traditional and nontraditional partners, oral health education is reaching many non-dental professionals, organizations, students, and faculty members from a wide array of disciplines (e.g. medicine, dental , social work, law, pharmacy, and nursing).
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Literacy and Education

In partnership with the Maryland Office of Oral Health, MDAC created a national award-winning multimedia, bilingual oral health literacy campaign Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids. Since 2012, more than 400,000 educational brochures in both English and Spanish have been distributed.
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Mary Backley has been appointed Executive Director of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC). Prior to joining MDAC, Backley was Vice President for Finance and Administration at Grantmakers In Health, where she was widely credited for the successful development and implementation of multiple initiatives to grow its financial base of support.

Latest News

  • MDAC Releases 5-Year Roadmap to Improved Oral Health in Maryland
    By MDAC March 13, 2018

    (COLUMBIA, MD - March 13, 2018) – The Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC) has released the Maryland Oral Health Plan 2018-2023 (MOHP), a five-year roadmap to improved oral health for all Marylanders. The plan builds on the oral health improvements achieved since the release of the first state plan in 2011, identifies critical remaining gaps, and outlines strategies to expand access to oral health care, prevent oral disease and injury, and improve the oral health and overall health of all Marylanders. Since the issuance of the first plan in 2011, the collective efforts of MDAC and its members, partners and oral health stakeholders statewide have made Maryland a model for the nation in improving the oral health of its children. Although dental caries is the most chronic disease of children and adolescents, improved access to oral health care through the Medicaid program, preventive programs such as dental sealants, and statewide oral health literacy campaigns have improved the oral health status of Maryland’s children. The vast majority of Maryland’s public school children have no unmet dental treatment needs, and less than 1% have any type of urgent need. The state now meets or exceeds Healthy People 2020 national targets. The updated plan notes the need to do the same for adults. Too many Maryland adults face serious financial obstacles to obtaining dental care, which puts many of our most vulnerable citizens at risk of untreated pain and serious health issues. The single most important step to improve the oral health of Maryland adults is a Medicaid program that covers dental services for adults. MDAC and its coalition partners strongly support Maryland Senate Bill 284, sponsored by Senators Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles County) and Guy Guzzone (D-Howard County), which would add a basic adult dental benefit to Medicaid and enable adults to establish a dental home, obtain preventative dental care, and avert costly chronic dental conditions. “Oral health is a part of overall health” said MDAC Executive Director Mary Backley. “Oral health affects systemic health, including conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Oral health also affects quality of life – our ability to eat, speak and be pain free. The goals outlined in the Maryland Oral Health Plan are critical steps forward to improve the oral health – and overall health – of Marylanders of all ages and enable them to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.” Read more →

  • Oral Health Advocates Call on Maryland to Provide Basic Dental Benefits to Adults on Medicaid
    By MDAC February 7, 2018

    Legislation heard today before the Maryland General Assembly Senate Finance Committee would provide a basic dental benefit to adult Medicaid recipients. Oral health experts and patients called on the state to improve access to preventive dentistry for nearly 700,000 Marylanders who face overwhelming financial obstacles to obtaining dental care and as a result cost the state millions in repeated emergency room visits for chronic pain and infections. Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Dental Coverage for Adults (SB 284), a bill introduced by Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, requires the state to fund a basic adult dental benefit through Medicaid. The bill would help Marylanders who might have otherwise relied on the emergency room for treatment of chronic oral health conditions establish a dental home and obtain preventive oral health care. "Basic dental coverage will divert thousands of low income Marylanders from expensive and ultimately fruitless trips to the emergency room while also saving the state millions of dollars. The legislation ensures that Maryland provides limited dental coverage as part of the Medicaid program. A small investment in oral health will ease much suffering and save money,” said Senator Middleton. The need for adult dental coverage in Medicaid is great. Although dental professionals statewide strive to help at-need patients through programs that offer low-cost care, or through non-profits that offer free services, it is not enough. The struggle to obtain needed dental care puts many of our most vulnerable citizens at risk of untreated pain and serious health issues. Mary Backley, executive director of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, said, “The single most important step to improving the oral health – and overall health – of Marylanders is a Medicaid program that covers dental services for adults. Maryland has become a model for the nation in improving the oral health of children. Now we need to do the same for adults.” In 34 states, adults who qualify for Medicaid get dental coverage. Maryland is one of just 16 states that does not have adult dental coverage in its Medicaid program. Through the Maryland General Assembly’s unanimous support of Senate Bill 169, the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC) studied the cost of emergency room visits by adults with chronic dental conditions. In fiscal year 2016, Maryland adults made 42,327 emergency department visits for chronic dental conditions, with an average charge of $537 per visit, or a total charge of $22.7 million. Medicaid paid for 53% of those visits, even though Medicaid participants only account for 15% of the adult population in Maryland. This discrepancy is likely the result of the lack of consistent adult dental coverage in the Medicaid program. Read more →