The ADA’s Fight for Improved Access to Oral Health Care

In 2017 the ADA launched their Action for Dental Health campaign, which aims to improve access to dental care for Americans. This campaign centers on eight distinct initiatives that the ADA believes if successful will contribute to improved dental health, particularly for people with multiple obstacles to dental treatment, such as lack of insurance, financial instability, language barriers, geographic barriers and more.

These initiatives are:

  1. Emergency Room Referral
    Connects hospitals to dental practices to better serve patients whose untreated dental issues lead them to an emergency room visit.
  2. Community Dental Health Coordinators
    CDHCs are people who go out in a community and act as a liaison between dental practices and those who typically do not receive dental care.
  3. Water Fluoridation
    The ADA reports this can help reduce dental decay in children by up to 25%.
  4. Medicaid Reform
    State Medicaid programs often fall short when it comes to providing dental care, particularly for low-income adults, so the ADA is advocating for increased dental protections under Medicaid.
  5. Federally Qualified Health Centers
    Links private practice dentist with qualified federal health centers to expand dental care to more patients without increasing the cost to the private dental practice.
  6. Nursing Home Programs
    Delivers dental care to nursing homes by having dental practices “adopt” a nursing home in their community.
  7. Collaborations with other Health Organizations
    Educate people on the importance of maintaining both good system and oral health for an overall healthy living.
  8. Missions of Mercy & Give a Kid a Smile
    These are ongoing events to help provide dental care to underserved members of a community, especially children.

While the ADA is actively working on supporting this ongoing mission an Action for Dental Health bill has been introduced to and overwhelmingly passed by the House in 2017. And as of June 6 the bill was introduced to the Senate for their deliberation and vote.

Just like the Action for Dental Health campaign, the ADA hopes the Action for Dental Health Act will help provide oral health care to those who currently lack these services.

If you would like to learn more about the ADA’s efforts to improve access to oral health care, their progress or the Action for Dental Health Act, or see how your practice can get involved in the mission visit the ADA website today. Together we can help make oral health care more readily available and help educate people on the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth.