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ADA, Friends of NIDCR urge Congress to ensure 2017 funding

September 22, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Association and Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research are asking Congress to approve an omnibus appropriations bill that would allot $430.5 million in 2017 funding.

"Increasing funding for NIDCR is a critical step to improving the oral health of the nation, reducing the societal costs of dental care and enhancing the evidence base for our profession," wrote Friends of the NIDCR in a Sept. 21 letter to the Senate and House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittees.

Friends of NIDCR is a coalition representing the interests of patients, researchers, educators, clinicians and students promoting the mission and research of NIDCR.

In the letter, the coalition reminded legislators that past NIDCR-funded research, including water fluoridation, dental sealants and the efficacy of a human papilloma virus vaccine for oral and pharyngeal cancers, has led to improvements in oral health for millions. They also noted that since the 1950s, federal funding for oral health research has saved the American public "at least $3 for every $1 invested."

"Despite these improvements, however, treating oral health conditions remains extremely costly — with the nation spending $113.5 billion on dental services in 2014," the coalition wrote. "While tooth decay and gum disease are the most prevalent threats to oral health, complete tooth loss, oral cancer and craniofacial congenital anomalies, such as cleft lip and palate, impose massive health and economic burdens on Americans."

"We look forward to working with you to ensure the highest funding level possible for NIDCR is enacted into law this year and we greatly appreciate your leadership thus far to help make this a reality," concluded the letter.

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee is chaired by Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash. The House version is chaired by Tom Cole, R-La., and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct.