Oral Health Group

ADHA SupportsComprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012

July 1, 2011
by American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA)

Chicago, June 6, 2012 – The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) commends Senator Bernard Sanders, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, and Congressman Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for their leadership on oral health issues by introducing the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2012. This legislation seeks to overcome the many barriers that over 140 million Americans face in accessing oral health care services, ensuring that the public has dental coverage and access to safe and high-quality oral health care.

The United States is in the midst of an oral health care crisis. Nearly 48 million people live in federally-designated shortage areas that lack an adequate number of dentists to serve the public. Less than 20 percent of Medicaid eligible children received dental treatment services in 2010. In addition, nationwide, the number of dental-related visits to the ER jumped by 16 percent during a three-year period between 2006 and 2009 to over 830,000 visits for preventable dental conditions.


By extending comprehensive dental coverage, vulnerable populations such as children from low income families, the elderly and members of racial and ethnic minority groups are able to receive treatment of oral disease while it is still manageable. This diminishes the need for more costly restorative services and emergency care.

In addition to expanding dental coverage, the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act seeks to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of oral health and expand the dental workforce to accommodate the millions more Americans who will become eligible for dental coverage in 2014. More than 50 countries have used midlevel dental providers for decades to help deliver much needed oral health care to patients.

 ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 150,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hyged in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about ADHA, dental hygiene, or the link between oral health and general health, visit ADHA at www.adha.org.

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