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Oral Health America celebrates Advocacy Week in Washington

September 20, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Fall for Smiles: Dr. Leo Rouse moderates a Sept. 14 briefing during Oral Health America's Advocacy Week. Photo by Risdon Photography.
Washington — Oral Health America celebrated its Advocacy Week Sept. 12-16 on Capitol Hill.

The event was part of Fall for Smiles, an annual event dedicated to the oral health of families. This year's campaign focused on grandfamilies and oral health issues impacting young and older generations.

According to Oral Health America, grandfamilies — those families with grandchildren residing with their grandparents full time — are becoming more common, and now include "one out of every 10 children." The 2016 Oral Health America Public Opinion Poll found that 57 percent of grandparents delay their own dental care to accommodate a grandchild's dental care needs.

"The Fall for Smiles campaign provides tools to encourage good oral hygiene habits at home," said Beth Truett, president and chief executive officer, Oral Health America. "Advocacy Week will encourage people to learn and speak out about policies that impact their oral health."

In addition to visiting with legislators and their staffs, OHA also hosted "Red or Blue: Oral Health Should Matter to You," a Sept. 14 briefing luncheon in the Russell Senate Building,

During the briefing, three speakers gave presentations on oral health:
  • Dr. Teresa Dolan, vice president and chief clinical officer, Dentsply Sirona, presented "Aging in America: Impact of Oral Health."
  • Dr. Mary Lee Conicella, chief dental officer, Aetna, presented "Oral Health and Diabetes: Health Care Outcomes and Savings."
  • Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., ADA chief economist and vice president, Health Policy Institute presented "Reducing Emergency Room Visits for Dental Care."
Following the presentations, OHA held a questions and answers session moderated by Dr. Leo Rouse, senior scholar-in-residence, American Dental Education Association.

For more information, visit the OHA website.