Dental Health Act on Its Way to the Full House

Dentistry Today


The House’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed HR 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, by voice vote on Thursday. Authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), it reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) to engage in oral health promotion along with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants to states to support oral health workforce activities. Next, it will go before the full House of Representatives.    

“Today, we advanced 7 bipartisan, commonsense bills,” said Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Cumulatively, these bills represent this committee’s dedication to advancing thoughtful solutions that put American consumers and patients first and exemplify our dedication to work across the aisle on things we agree on.”

The bill provides $18 million in funding in each fiscal year from 2018 through 2022. The CDC and HRSA can use this funding to collaborate with public and private stakeholders in improving oral health education and dental disease prevention via programs such as school-based fluoride varnishing and dental sealants. The CDC and HRSA also can work toward reducing geographic, language, cultural, and other similar barriers to oral healthcare. 

Additionally, the bill provides about $13.9 million each fiscal year, 2018 through 2022, to establish dental homes for children and adults, including the aged, blind, and disabled populations; establish initiatives to reduce the use of emergency departments by individuals who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; and provide dental care to the residents of nursing homes.

“The ADA is pleased to see Congress prioritizing dental and public health,” said ADA president Gary L. Roberts, DDS. “The Action for Dental Health bill will improve oral health in vulnerable populations by enabling organizations to qualify for grants to support activities that improve oral health education and disease prevention.”

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