|As a dentist in practice for 22 years in Blackfoot, Idaho, I have seen firsthand both the value of good oral health and the consequences of neglect, especially among children. For people who don’t have access to dental care, oral disease is almost 100 percent inevitable – in fact, it is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the United States. As co-chair of the Congressional Oral Health Caucus, and a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education subcommittee on Appropriations, which funds oral health programs, I am in a fortunate position to have the ability to impact the oral health initiatives that deserve to be prioritized.
My priorities include legislation I introduced along with Rep. Robin Kelly that would expand access to care for dental services and oral disease prevention through proven outreach programs using existing resources. The Action for Dental Health Act would target relatively modest but crucial federal dollars to organizations to provide proven oral health care services in a manner that effectively addresses the barriers to dental care that people often face It supports dental health education and assists dental professionals who donate their time to provide free dental care. Information on my bill can be found here.
I also have supported increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Oral Health, which administers crucial dental programs, and have worked with the CDC to preserve and protect of the Division of Oral Health. I have also supported Title VII General Practice and Pediatric Dental Residencies, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health and SPRANs State Oral Health Programs.
Each of these programs provides critical support for the dental health community and do much to improve access for those that currently lack proper care.