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ADA Statement On September 12, 2013 Senate Committee Hearing: A Step In The Right Direction Toward Improving The Nation's Dental Health

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- We commend Chairman Bernie Sanders and the members of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging for their continuing efforts to break down the barriers that impede millions of Americans from achieving optimal oral health.  We hope that this latest hearing is a jumping off point for Congressional action that leads to more coverage—and more care—for those who need it most.

This country is facing a dental health crisis—a gap between those with good health and those without.  Its causes are varied and complex and it will only get worse without a comprehensive set of solutions.  The good news is that increasing attention is being paid to dental health.  But the proposed solutions have been too few and too narrow in scope. 

Congress missed a terrific opportunity to address this in the Affordable Care Act by essentially leaving low-income adults behind.  The failure of the ACA to address the critical dental needs of this population was one impetus for the ADA's Action for Dental Health:  Dentists Making a Difference, a major campaign to address a mounting dental health crisis in America.  The campaign comprises multiple initiatives that fall into three general areas: 
  • Providing care now to people already suffering with untreated disease;
  • Strengthening and expanding the public-private safety net to provide more care to more Americans; and
  • Bringing dental health education and disease prevention into communities.

Healthy teeth and gums aren't a luxury—they're essential.  We recognize that dentists alone cannot solve the nation's dental health crisis.  Federal, state and local governments must be part of the solutions.  We are committed to working with all stakeholders to put good dental health within the reach of all Americans.

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