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Getting into the dental chair isn’t always easy (or fun). Millions of Americans face barriers to care like cost, lack of insurance, fear and access to a dentist.

These barriers are especially prevalent for many of our nation’s veterans who do not receive any dental benefits through the VA unless they are classified as 100 percent disabled, have a service-connected dental condition, or have a service-oriented medical condition that affects their mouth.

This gap in access to dental care for veterans drove me to volunteer my time for Aspen Dental’s third annual Healthy Mouth Movement MouthMobile tour as it made its way through Detroit last month. The MouthMobile — a 42-foot dental office on wheels — kicked off its 30-city tour in February to provide free dental care to veterans across the country.

It is veterans like those who visited MouthMobile who reinforce my mission as a dentist: to make care easier and more accessible for my patients. Veteran-focused services across the state continue to pop up, especially when it comes to their access to health care and benefits. When Michigan ranked last on the scale of spend-per-veteran for VA benefits in 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder created the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) to help improve access to care for veterans and increase the knowledge of available local resources.

To learn more about what we’re doing to bring veterans a healthy smile, visit HealthyMouthMovement.com.

Dr. Nicholas Miller, Spring Lake

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