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This won't hurt a bit

   Who's not in favor of oral health? Who could argue against a state regulation that could help get some kids get to a dentist, and then get treated?

   New York State is requiring public schools to ask parents to provide them with a certificate of dental health for their children. But parents don't have to provide it, and no child will be turned away from school.

   One of the cases cited in favor of this law is that of a 12-year-old Maryland boy, who died from a brain infection that had spread from an abscess in a tooth root.

   Local dentists have stepped up and will offer free and reduced price dental screenings for one week next month, and they'll sign the certificates after the screening.

   But will the certificate be a piece of paper that gets tucked away in a child's folder, never to be seen again - like the Ark of the Covenant in "Raiders of the Lost Ark?"

  --- Barbara O'Brien

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