Governor O'Malley was driven to spearhead this initiative after the death of Deamonte Driver, a young man receiving Medicaid who suffered from a simple toothache. After his mother was unable to locate a dentist to see Deamonte, he died from serious complications associated with the toothache. Shocked by such a loss, Governor O'Malley has resolved to do everything in his power to prevent these easily avoidable tragedies. Currently, over 50 percent of 5- to 9-year-old children have or have had at least one cavity. That figure increases to 78 percent among 17 year olds. The main goal of the program is to make services available to Medicaid-eligible children throughout Maryland so that they are not refused routine, life-saving care.
Kool Smiles has opened five offices in Maryland to promote the initiative of Governor O'Malley. The Healthy Smiles Tour was commenced at Seat Pleasant Elementary School in Prince George's County at an event in which Kool Smiles of District Heights provided free dental screenings to all Seat Pleasant students.