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 www.adha.org .
SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association