The American Dental Association (ADA) hopes to reduce the numbers of adults and children with untreated dental disease through a new multifaceted campaign. The Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference campaign is a response to the “dental divide in America.” According to a recent study by Harris Interactive on behalf of ADA:
- Nearly half of lower-income adults say they haven’t seen a dentist in a year or longer, while the vast majority of middle- and higher-income wage earners (70 percent) have.
- Nearly one in five (18 percent) lower-income adults have reported that they or a household member has sought treatment for dental pain in an emergency room at some point in their lives, compared to only seven percent of middle- and higher-income adults.
ADA’s national campaign will focus on three areas of the dental crisis, including providing care to people with untreated disease, strengthening and expanding the public/private safety net to provide more care to more Americans, and providing dental health education and disease prevention in communities.
To strengthen the safety net and provide more dental care, ADA will have private-practice dentist’s contract with Community Health Centers to boost the number of patients who receive oral health care services to 175 percent by 2020. We have written about health centers and oral health in a previous blog post. But it’s worth noting again that health centers have been working hard to close that dental divide. About 78 percent of health centers offer preventative dental care and provided over 3.1 million patients with oral dental exams in 2011.
Check out their press release for more information.