Scott Helps Introduce Bill to Increase Access to Oral Health Care for Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) helped introduce the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018, a bill that would reauthorize initiatives that increase access to oral health treatment and prevention services, particularly for underserved communities. Additional co-sponsors include Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

“Dental care is an important part of our overall health and we should work to make sure families have access to basic oral care,” Scott said. “I am confident this legislation will help promote better education of dental services and improve availability of care across the country, even in our most underserved communities. I am proud to support the Action for Dental Health Act alongside Senators Booker, Cassidy, and Hirono and look forward to the Senate considering this important measure in the near future.”

“Everybody deserves good oral health. The Action for Dental Health Act will help Americans improve essential oral health care for low-income and other underserved individuals by breaking down barriers to care,” Dr. Joseph P. Crowley, president of the American Dental Association, said. “It will also help organizations qualify for oral health grants to develop and expand programs that establish dental homes for children, adults, the elderly, blind and disabled at no extra burden to taxpayers.”

“We applaud the bipartisan efforts of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) for co-sponsoring this important bill that will help improve oral health education outreach programs and dental disease prevention in our communities and underserved populations,” Crowley continued. “The Action for Dental Health Act will bring greater access to oral health care to all American families.”

Poor oral health is a risk, as it can lead to various conditions, including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. It can even be linked to other health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many of these conditions can be avoided by preventive measures, such as regular cleanings.

Specifically, this legislation would:

• Reauthorize oral health promotion and disease prevention activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as school-based dental sealant programs and support for community water fluoridation
• Establish an Action for Dental Health Program to improve oral health education and reduce barriers to oral health care.
• Reauthorize and expand a grant program through the Health Resources and Services Administration that helps states increase their oral health workforce and provide needed dental care, particularly in underserved communities.

The Action for Dental Health Act is supported by the following organizations:

American Dental Association
Academy of General Dentistry
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Academy of Periodontology
American Association of Dental Research
American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
American Association of Women Dentists
American College of Prosthodontists
American Dental Education Association
American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists
Families USA
National Dental Association
Oral Health America