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Breaking the Silence: Senate Takes Aim at America’s Dental Crisis with Eye-Opening Testimony

In a landmark hearing before the Senate HELP Committee, led by Chairman Bernie Sanders and ranking member Bill Cassidy, oral health stakeholders and dental professionals delivered compelling testimony on the staggering disparities in dental care accessibility and affordability across America. With nearly 70 million adults and 8 million children lacking dental insurance, the nation faces an urgent oral health crisis.

Speakers, which included Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president, and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health; Lisa Simon, MD, DMD, of Harvard Medical School; Brian Jeffrey Swann, DMD, MPH, co-chair of Global Oral Health at the National Dental Association; and Gordon Roswell Isbell, III, DMD, MAGD, past trustee of the Academy of General Dentistry, emphasized the dire consequences of dental coverage gaps, forcing countless individuals to forego crucial care. Senator Sanders echoed this urgency, denouncing the exorbitant costs, insufficient provider availability, and lack of Medicaid acceptance plaguing the system. Shocking statistics reveal the grim reality: one in five seniors without natural teeth, 40% of kindergarten children with dental caries, and half of insured Americans skipping necessary dental treatments due to financial constraints.

Senator Edward J. Markey stressed the interconnectedness of oral health with overall well-being, underscoring the need for integrated care systems. From rural communities to marginalized populations, the impact is profound, with disparities in access, affordability, and untreated conditions starkly evident. The hearing signifies a pivotal moment in addressing the dental care crisis, as policymakers and advocates rally for equitable solutions. By tackling systemic barriers and investing in holistic healthcare, the nation can pave the way toward a future where oral health is truly accessible to all, safeguarding both individual well-being and community prosperity. Click here to read more.

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