Comprehensive dental care

I am disabled, I have diabetes, bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m currently on Medicare with supplemental MaineCare, which is huge for me. But it is lacking incredibly when it comes to dental care. I have never been able to afford preventative care for my teeth. It has been more than 25 years since I have had a dental cleaning.

In 2002, my dental care needs had reached a crisis level. My teeth had begun to break, and I was suffering from infections. I have lost teeth due to cavities, gingivitis and a mixture of soft crowns. I have had to have nine teeth pulled, which are causing others to be loose. I currently have a lot of broken teeth that cause me pain. This means that slowly, my teeth will all need to be pulled.

Even with having Medicare part A, B and D, and supplemental MaineCare, I cannot afford to go for routine cleanings, yearly check-ups, or any kind of preventative care.

If I had dental care in my 20s, I would still have my teeth. Dental access is about more than just your mouth. Due to my teeth, I can only eat soft foods. On top of my already restricted diet, this makes it harder to afford healthy food. Infections of any sort make my diabetes worse, it makes my blood sugar harder to control. I’m urging the governor and Legislature to act quickly to provide comprehensive dental care to low-income adults in Maine.

Tifani Pedro

Old Town

Why I support Bernie Sanders

I was born in 1966, and I support Bernie Sanders for president. In my lifetime, I have watched income and wealth inequality worsen and U.S. health care costs soar, racial and economic segregation metastasize, the climate crisis continue uninterrupted, voting rights be whittled away, the U.S. military budget swell to more than the next seven countries combined, the federal minimum wage stagnate and more. This is what “incremental change” has brought us.

We are facing deep environmental, social and economic crises. This is not a game. Sanders’ candidacy is not just a campaign. It is a multigenerational, multiracial movement of working people that keeps growing for a reason.

We need leadership we can trust, with a new, humane set of priorities. Sanders is the only candidate able to run and win the general election without taking big corporate money. He will inspire that long-sought-after large voter turnout. His experience and integrity make him unassailable. If you want to beat Trump and see our country get serious about making our world a saner and more just place, we need to get behind the one candidate who can and will put us on that new path.

Carla White

South Thomaston

Climate science is clear

Last year, the concentration of greenhouse gases reached record highs. So clearly, governments’ efforts have been ineffective to reduce climate change and protect our future. Greta Thunburg confronted world leaders boldly about this in her speech to the U.N. in September.

“You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said. “People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Unfortunately, the science is clear. She is right about each of these points. When moist air stays above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, our bodies can’t cool themselves and people can die in just a few hours. Right now, one fifth of the world’s population live in areas that experience such heat waves, and with business as usual, by 2100, almost half of the world will have 20 days of such deadly heat each year.

I ask all of our representatives to join Rep. Chellie Pingree in supporting two bills this year that are powerful enough to actually reduce climate change: the Green New Deal and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. And I ask us all to let our leaders know that we will vote with climate in mind.

Richard Thomas