Dentists to speak with elected officials about oral health issues during Dental Day at the Capitol
On Wednesday March 28, the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) is hosting Dental Day at the Capitol to educate legislators about issues that affect oral health. CSDA dentists will also be advocating for legislation that would have a positive impact on the dental industry in the state.
During the 2018 legislative session – as in years past – the CSDA has supported legislation to protect, advance and increase access to oral health for the state’s residents.
“The CSDA supports community programs and legislation that ensure all Connecticut residents have the ability to access quality, affordable dental care,” said Dr. Gary Linker, CSDA President. “The CSDA’s annual Dental Day at the Capitol is one part of these initiatives, aimed at interacting with and educating legislators on the incredibly important role oral health plays in overall health.”
This year, the CSDA supports House Bill 5213, which would require each child enrolled in the public schools to have an oral health assessment in addition to a comprehensive health assessment. Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Untreated dental decay often times result in pain and loss of days in school.
“Tooth decay is a highly preventable illness,” said CSDA President Dr. Gary Linker. “Proper screening and early care can prevent children from missing school, emergency room visits, and hospitals stays.”
House Bill 5213 also allows dental assistants to provide fluoride varnish, provided they have proper training from a dentist. Professionally-applied topical fluoride treatments are a safe and effective way to help reduce the prevalence of dental caries. Currently, dental assistants are the only members of the clinical dental team not authorized to apply fluoride varnish.
“Applying fluoride varnish is a simple procedure. Dental assistants can be easily trained to apply fluoride varnish for the betterment of oral health for dental patients of all ages,” said Dr. Linker.
Additionally, the CSDA urges the Legislature to maintain currents rates of Medicaid funding for adult and child dental care.
“Dental Medicaid funding enables residents across Connecticut to access and utilize preventative dental care, which helps promote and maintain both oral health, and overall health. The State of Connecticut has put in years of work to create one of the strongest Dental Medicaid programs in the country, with one of the highest rates of child Medicaid utilization and over 1,800 participating dentists. The CSDA urges the Legislature to support the continuation of this trend by maintaining current rates for dental Medicaid funding,” said Dr. Gary Linker.