HARTFORD, Conn. (March 23, 2017) – The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) members, today, met with Senators and Representatives of the Connecticut General Assembly to discuss issues impacting dental health this legislative session. Dentists from across the state came to the capitol to discuss the impact of reducing funding for the Medicaid Dental Program and legislation that would tax sugary beverages.
“Each year our members come to Hartford to meet with their elected officials to discuss matters impacting dentistry and the oral health of Connecticut residents,” said Dr. Michael Ungerleider, CSDA President. “This year, the CSDA remains concerned that the General Assembly adequately fund the Medicaid Dental Program. We appreciate the fiscal crisis the state is facing and the hard choices legislators must make. However, any reductions to the funding of the program will impact access to care. Connecticut has made great strides over the last few years and is a national model in this regard. Turning back the clock will only result in more patients going to the emergency room for care, where services are many times more expensive.”
As the program has been properly funded since 2008, over 1,800 providers now participate in HUSKY. 99.2% of HUSKY health clients have access to at least 2 providers with 10 miles of their home.
“In addition to making sure that the Medicaid program is properly funded, we also support the passage of legislation that would impose a tax on sugary beverages,” Ungerleider continued. “Public health experts project a 24% reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with a penny per ounce excise tax, for example. The public health impact of such a tax could be substantial for children and low income groups where consumption is high.”
A steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including soda, juice and sports drinks, can damage teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that attack tooth enamel for up to twenty minutes after a person eats or drinks. Sipping sugary beverages all day results in repeated acid attacks that weaken tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities.
“We urge the legislature to join us in our efforts to protect the oral health of Connecticut’s residents, and look forward to discussing these important issues with our state leaders.”
About Connecticut State Dental Association
The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) has approximately 2,300 members. As the trusted leader and voice for oral health care in Connecticut, the CSDA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1864. For more information about the CSDA, visit the Association's Web site at www.csda.com.