CHICAGO (June 7, 2012)—The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has offered to assist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in developing workable solutions that would reduce or eliminate many of the barriers that prevent all Americans from receiving the very best in comprehensive dental care and achieving optimal dental health.
In a letter sent to Sen. Sanders on June 5, 2012, in response to the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012, legislation introduced by Sen. Sanders, the AGD commended Sanders for his efforts to develop a comprehensive approach to improving oral health care in the United States but opposed the legislation’s inference that the existing oral health workforce and delivery system have failed to provide oral health care to the poor and underserved populations.
The AGD maintains that all patients, regardless of income or socioeconomic status, should have equal access to oral health care, which includes having their oral health care performed and directly supervised by general dentists, who have the extensive training and qualifications necessary to diagnose, treat, and properly manage patients’ oral health care.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (2000), illnesses related to oral health result in 6.1 million days of bed disability, 12.7 million days of restricted activity, and 20.5 million lost workdays each year. These numbers could be reduced significantly by addressing barriers that prevent patients from utilizing dental care services that are already available within their communities, including programs funded by the federal and state governments.
“The vast majority of oral health ailments are avoidable through the prevention model of oral health literacy, sound hygiene, and preventive care available through the dental team concept,” says AGD President Howard Gamble, DMD, FAGD.
While those Americans who receive dental services enjoy the highest quality dental care in the world, the AGD recognizes that many people are underserved. The AGD’s response to Sen. Sanders’ proposed legislation addresses key provisions of the bill in detail and expresses the desire to collaborate with Sen. Sanders and other legislators in support of efforts to expand utilization of dental care to all Americans.
Copies of the AGD letter was sent to Sen. Sanders are available upon request. Please contact Lauren Henderson, AGD public relations coordinator, at email@example.com.
To read “Sanders, Cummings Introduce Sweeping Bills on Dental Crisis,” click here.