COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) — Maryland is hosting its first oral health summit.

Rep. Elijah Cummings will join federal and state health officials and the Maryland Dental Action Coalition and the Santa Fe Group at the kickoff Thursday in Columbia.

The event is meant to celebrate improvements in oral health since the 2007 death of 12-year old Deamonte Driver from a tooth infection that spread to his brain. But it is also aimed at developing an agenda for implementing a state oral health plan.

Officials say Maryland has boosted access to care by 28 percent and the number dental providers participating in Medicaid by 44 percent since 2006.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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