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Coalition urges Surgeon General to release 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health

May 06, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA and other stakeholders are asking the Office of the Surgeon General to release the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health.

“The 2020 report is essential to document progress in oral health since the July 2000 publication of Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,” the groups wrote in a May 5 letter to Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., U.S. surgeon general. “It will provide critical insight into issues currently affecting the nation’s oral health, identify opportunities and challenges that have emerged since the 2000 report and articulate a vision for the future of oral health in America. Just as the first report illuminated that oral health is more than healthy teeth and integral to whole health and well-being, we believe this report will be equally as impactful for Americans’ overall health.”

The coalition, led by the American Association for Dental Research, said Surgeon General reports are comprehensive scientific documents — prepared by scientific, medical and public health experts and produced through a meticulous, evidence-based approach.

“This report was no exception.”

The groups also noted that initial planning stages for the report involved a listening session in November 2018, which elicited input from more than 150 health professionals, researchers, educators and other experts. Stakeholders also submitted 180 comments during a public commenting period, which resulted in 180 comments, including 40 descriptions of programs and 19 responses from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors who were asked to share exemplary public-private partnerships for improving oral health. Other notables included six section editors and 20 associates who outlined and expanded topics and content in the report.

“We greatly appreciate this administration’s emphasis and commitment to science and science’s role in the federal government,” the letter concluded. “While we understand that the transition from one administration to the next will cause delays in the publication of the updated Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, further delaying or rejecting its publication would be a disservice not only to the American people but also to the approximately 700 experts and professionals who worked so diligently to make this report a reality. It is a vital public health document and critical for moving our nation’s health forward.”

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