Lansing — State officials and others are backing a plan to boost the number of dentists in Michigan and encourage their collaboration with other health care providers to give residents better access to dental care.

The 2020 Michigan State Oral Health plan was unveiled Wednesday. Supporters say poor oral health is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, and can be especially serious for pregnant women and their children.

Over five years, the Michigan Oral Health Coalition and state Department of Health and Human Services want to increase access to dental care in underserved populations, raise awareness of the importance of oral health to overall health and boost integration among dental, medical and social service providers.

A quarter of pregnant women don’t see a dentist during their pregnancy.

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