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Organized dentistry urges Senate to pass Action for Dental Health

August 10, 2018

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Organized Dentistry Coalition on Aug. 9 expressed “strong support” for the Action for Dental Health bill.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the coalition urged legislators to take S 3016 to the Senate floor for a vote. In July the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions unanimously passed the bill, which allows organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention. The bill also will enable organizations to develop and expand outreach programs that facilitate establishing dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind and disabled. 

The House bill, led by Representatives Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, passed the House of Representatives in February. It was introduced in the Senate June 6 by Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., Bill Cassidy R-La., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

The ADH legislation would support initiatives that have the greatest impact on dental access disparities, including:

  • Supporting charitable programs such as Give Kids A Smile and Missions of Mercy;
  • Reducing the number of emergency room visits for dental conditions by referring these patients to dental practices;
  • Expanding access to care for the vulnerable elderly in nursing homes;
  • Ensuring more Americans have access to drinking water with fluoride;
  • Strengthening collaborations with other health professionals and organizations.

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/advocacy.