Readers comment on oral health and a lost cat

Oral health is vital to overall health

Too often in their busy lives, people postpone going to the dentist and suffer not only from dental and periodontal diseases, but also from inflammation and infections that affect other parts of the body such as the heart. June is the month of oral health, and I want to remind the Floridians to take care of their oral health.

The mouth contains bacteria that can be kept under control with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist. However, these bacteria can get out of hand and circulate through the bloodstream to other parts of the body where they cause serious problems – including infections of the heart lining and pregnancy and childbirth complications.

In addition to taking care of your own dental health, you can also be a positive example to your children by planning their first visit to the dentist before their first birthday, demonstrating good dental hygiene practices, and creating a calendar for brushing and flossing.

Liberty Dental Plan of Florida recently launched its Community Smiles program, which connects Medicaid members with affordable community resources that include transportation and childcare needs. Removing health care barriers is an important part of helping Florida stay healthy.

For more information about the Community Smiles program, send an SMS with LDPSMILES to 22925.

Heather Stearns, President, Liberty Dental Plan of Florida

Help our lost cat

I am so impressed with the wonderful people at Wildwood and The Villages who have been around since May 1st to help us find our beloved cat, Tuck. When we stopped to change drivers, she left our car on Interstate 75, half a mile south of Exit 329 on State Road 44, and disappeared into the bushes by the curb.

Cyndi Brunette immediately jumped in and went out at least twice a day to search, leave food, and check the trap. She put together a team that included Arlene Macellaro, who went out with Brunette every night to provide extra protection from potential critters. Macellaro recruited her neighbor Andrew to join the night team. Chrissy Atchison checked the trap every morning on the way to work, and Karin Phillips Ahrman loaned several pieces of equipment to Brunette to trap animals when they were scared, as we know Tuck had to be. Finally, Brunette put us in touch with Pat Totillo of Orange City’s K9 Search & Rescue. Totillo and her dog, Olivia, were chasing Tuck to a pretty small area just across the Monarch Ranch fence, so I flew back downstairs to persuade them. Fletcher Carter was protecting us when we tracked down an animal den near Olivia Tuck. There is no sign that she passed away

We hope Tuck is headed for someone who can feed them and eventually catch them. She was wearing a collar and has a microchip. I posted more information about her on the Sumter County Florida Lost / Found Pets on Facebook, the Sumter County Animal Services website, and on The Villages News. We love her very much and hope to see her again one day soon.

Jane E. Neff, Osage Beach, Missouri

Juniteenth is important

Juneteenth is a day many Floridians find unfamiliar. This anniversary, also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day, has its origins in Galveston, Texas and is celebrated across the United States on June 19th.

Although slavery was abolished with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment more than 150 years ago, discrimination continues to show up in our communities. The Florida Commission on Human Relations is the state agency charged with investigating unlawful discrimination and ensuring that all people have access to equal opportunities in employment, housing, and public housing. As Vice Chairman of the Commission, I remain committed to this mission and vision to eradicate all forms of discrimination in the Sunshine State.

June 10th is an important date that deserves public recognition. While the date it will be celebrated is debatable, the fact remains that it is a day that shows our nation’s ability to make meaningful changes despite the challenges and gives hope in the possible future unification of all Americans. To end racial discrimination and social injustice for good, and to achieve equality for all Americans, it is important to keep remembering our history while engaging in conversations and necessary action now and in the future.

Darrick D. McGhee, Sr., vice chairman, Florida Commission on Human Relations

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