The National Partnership for Dental Therapy has responded to a recent viral Instagram post in which U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she is getting braces to help with her smile esthetics.
In an Instagram story, the congresswoman revealed that she could only afford orthodontic treatment after getting elected to Congress.
"Not having your bite lined up correctly can be painful and contribute to other health problems (which are also more expensive later on, not just for you but for our WHOLE SOCIETY)," she noted.
In response, the National Partnership for Dental Therapy encouraged Congress to support access to affordable dental care, including through the use of dental therapists.
"Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said it best -- the most important thing about dental care is your health," stated Tera Bianchi, dental access program director at Community Catalyst, in a press release. "Your salary and your ZIP code should not determine whether or not you have a healthy mouth. By sharing her story, the congresswoman has shone a light on this often-overlooked healthcare issue."
Bianchi also fired shots at "elite dentist lobby groups" for blocking dental therapists and dental therapy programs, claiming the groups view the midlevel providers as competitors to dentists.
"They are choosing profits over maximizing solutions that will help kids, seniors, and low-income and rural communities get dental care puts nearly 60 million Americans at risk for major health issues," Bianchi stated.