Skip to main content

#Luv1LuvAll works to make out community better — they still need help

Star Herald Editorial

In this week’s paper we have a story on page 6 about Dental Day in the elementary school. This happens to be a puff piece about kids having fun learning about oral health, but it’s part of a broader effort to bring dental health care to an underserved community.
Rock County’s 9,000-plus residents are served by one local dentist office and we’re darn lucky to have it, considering other communities don’t have one at all. But it’s open four days per week and doesn’t accept state dental insurance.
What this means is that families on Medicaid have to travel two to three hours for dental care, requiring missed school for students and missed work for parents, creating financial and educational stress on families.
As a result, they put off dental appointments and children develop oral health issues, which affects their learning with distracting pain and frequent visits to the school nurse.
Statewide studies show 37 percent of ER visits in rural areas are related to oral health, likely because of poor access to care and insurance.
With nearly 60 percent of Minnesota children on Medicaid as their primary insurance, oral health has suffered. For example, more than half of Minnesota third-graders experience dental decay and 18 percent have untreated cavities.
So … dental care is important, especially for kids.
That’s why #Luv1LuvAll formed its Rock County Oral Health Task Force to find ways to address the problem. And there are all kinds of really creative solutions they’ve implemented.
#Luv1LuvAll, which grew out of a Blandin Foundation “Leaders Partnering to End Poverty” initiative, and dental health access is one piece of that poverty puzzle.
But it’s part of an even broader local effort to improve the lives of our local families who are facing barriers associated with being poor, and #Luv1LuvAll is working on many fronts to make our community better.
Anybody who follows community news in the Star Herald knows they make frequent headlines with work to end brain health stigma, improve options for seniors and generally spread awareness of ways to make life better for all of us.
The group is watching for unmet needs it can work on in the community, as it stated in a recent online message. “Do you have an idea for how a group can try to help solve — or improve — a need to help those in our community? We want to hear from you,” the message read.
“Luverne is an amazing community and is always making improvements to the town, but there is still so much that can be done to help those that are in need.” Call 507-227-1978 or email

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.