Last week, proposed legislation aimed at broadening access to dental care in the U.S. officially became law.
The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 (Public Law No 115-302) was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives back in mid-2017 by representatives from both parties. The law gives the Department of Health and Human Services expanded power to award grants or enter into contracts with public officials and other stakeholders to improve oral health.
These grants are designed to spur investment in new technology and bring dental professionals to parts of the country that have limited access to dental care.
In a recent press release, Senator Tim Scott, who helped introduce the legislation, explained: “Dental health and oral care are important facets of overall health. The zip code you are born in shouldn’t affect your access to good care and education.”
In expanding access to dental care, the bill’s authors also hope to reduce the over-reliance on emergency room visits for dental treatment.
There’s no question that a dental care divide exists in the U.S.—more than a third of American adults lack dental coverage, according to the ADA’s Health Policy Institute. Hopefully, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 will help bridge that gap.