U.S. lawmakers address oral health crisis; caries not linked to HSNCC

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Lots of activity in Washington, DC, last week related to what many are calling America's oral healthcare crisis.

At a hearing held September 12 on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions heard testimony from public health officials, lawmakers, and even parents who shared emotional stories about the challenges of finding adequate oral care services. Witnesses blamed factors such as skyrocketing costs, inadequate insurance, and a lack of preventive care for contributing to ballooning emergency costs and rampant untreated disease.

The hearing was called by Sen. Bernard Sanders, who also submitted the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2013, which aims to expand dental coverage, create new access points, enhance the workforce of dental professionals, improve education, and provide funding for new research. Click here to read more.

In related news, the Institute for Oral Health held its annual meeting in Washington, DC, to draw attention to these same issues and encourage dental professionals to take a more active role in addressing them. While programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program have expanded care to the poor and working poor, millions of children and adults still lack access, several speakers note. Read more.

Finally, people with more dental caries are less likely to be diagnosed with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HSNCC) than those with few or no caries, according to a new study in JAMA Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery. What accounts for this unexpected inverse relationship? Click here to read the study findings.

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