Dental Hygienists' 77th Annual Meeting Ends With a Day on The Hill to Increase Awareness of the Need to Improve the Nation's Oral Health

Jun 26, 2000, 01:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    WASHINGTON, June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Dental hygienists from across the
 country attending the 77th annual session of the American Dental Hygienists'
 Association will devote Tuesday, June 27, to congressional visits on Capitol
 Hill.  They will share information with legislators to increase awareness of
 the link between oral health and total health, and discuss the importance of
 improving the nation's oral health.
     Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in
 each of the fifty states, who are vitally concerned about the nation's oral
 health, a fundamental part of total health as described in Surgeon General
 David Satcher's report, Oral Health in America, released June 25.
     "More attention must be paid to the nation's oral health and a good place
 to start increasing awareness is with the nation's lawmakers," says ADHA
 President Lisa B. Potter, RDH.  "As the surgeon general notes, signs and
 symptoms of many potentially life-threatening diseases appear first in the
 mouth, precisely when they are most treatable.  Dental hygienists routinely
 look for these signs and symptoms during routine oral exams."
     Other topics of discussion on the dental hygienists' agenda include the
 vital importance of access to the preventive oral health care services they
 provide, state efforts by dental hygienists to improve oral health and the
 need to close the gap for the current disparities existing in the nation's
 oral health, especially for America's children.
     Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will start the day by speaking to the dental
 hygienists during breakfast at the Capitol.  Bingaman introduced the
 "Children's Dental Health Improvement Act of 1999."
     Potter concludes that members of Congress and federal health policymakers
 should recognize that oral health is an integral part of total health and that
 dental hygienists can and should play an important role in health promotion
 and disease prevention.  She adds that this recognition is vital because, as
 the surgeon general confirms, research continues to demonstrate both the link
 between oral health and total health and that life-threatening conditions
 often exhibit early warning signs in the mouth.
     ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
 interests of the more than 100,000 licensed dental hygienists across the
 country.  Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed
 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 preventive oral health care, please visit the
 ADHA Web site at .

SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association