September 18, 2015 -- The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Health Braintrust has released the 2015 Kelly Report on Health Disparities in America, which includes a chapter on oral health.
The report examines the causes and impact of health disparities among minorities and is compiled by U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), who chairs the CBC Health Braintrust. The report includes a chapter on oral health written by ADA President Maxine Feinberg, DDS.
"Although oral health in the United States has by many measures improved dramatically over the past 50 years, it still represents a significant public health issue, one that affects low-income and minority populations disproportionately," Dr. Feinberg wrote.
Dr. Feinberg also noted that 42% of African-American adults and 36% of Hispanic adults have untreated dental disease, compared with the 22% of Caucasians, and that untreated tooth decay in primary teeth among children ages 2 to 8 is twice as high for Hispanic and African-American children as compared with Caucasian children.
Dr. Feinberg called for reforms at the state and federal levels, focusing on improvements to Medicaid coverage, the Action for Dental Health Act, which supports activities that improve oral health education and disease prevention, as well as increased support for federal agencies and services aimed at reducing oral disease among underserved populations.