Event on Capitol Hill Addresses Oral Health Disparities

Sep 21, 2011, 19:43 ET from Oral Health America

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oral Health America (OHA), the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) and over 100 supporters assembled on Capitol Hill on September 21, 2011, to address the impact of oral health disparities on America's health.  A survey by OHA, sponsored by Oral Healthcare Can't Wait and Plackers, found that more than one-third (35 percent) of those who regularly visit the dentist have cut back. Those who have cut back are disproportionately low income, less educated, and in minority households(1).

"These findings point to the complexity of access to care--both the perception of its importance to overall health, as well as the fact that it can be a struggle for Americans with limited resources to get the dental care they need," said Beth Truett, President and CEO, OHA.

"We have an obligation to make sure that our communities, business leaders, policy makers, health care providers, and schools are committed to the oral health of our nation," said Gary Price, President  and  CEO, DTA. "All Americans need to be able to access dental care and understand its importance in our daily lives."

At the event, OHA and the DTA recognized U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) for his leadership in policy changes that are helping to reduce disparities, particularly for children, in Maryland and throughout the country.  

"For too long, being a member of a minority group has meant less access to health care, less treatment, and less research on relevant conditions," said Senator Cardin.  "Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver of Prince George's County, Maryland, lost his life after a tooth infection because our system failed him. Inequalities continue to exact an enormous toll but the status quo is changing with 2009 reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the newly elevated National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. We're eliminating gaps in coverage, expanding access, and increasing research to improve overall quality of health care."

OHA is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities with resources to increase access to care, education and advocacy. More information about OHA: www.oralhealthamerica.org.  More information about Oral Healthcare Can't Wait, an initiative of the DTA: www.oralhealthcarecantwait.com

(1) Oral Health America survey conducted by Harris Interactive, and sponsored by Oral Healthcare Can't Wait and Plackers, 2011.

SOURCE Oral Health America