Urge the Senate to Take Up H.R.4555 Today

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jul 21, 2022
H.R.4555, the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act, overwhelmingly passed the House by a 369-58 vote last year, but the Senate has yet to take up this important public health legislation.

Oral health literacy (OHL), defined as the individual capacity to understand and use dental information, is critical to transforming poor oral health behaviors. Less than half of the American population visits the dentist on an annual basis, resulting in the development of serious diseases such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and oral cancer that regular dental care could prevent and treat. On average, over 34 million school hours and more than $45 billion in productivity are lost annually due to dental emergencies requiring unplanned care.

H.R.4555 would establish a public health education campaign across existing Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs to promote OHL. The campaign would use tested, evidence-based strategies to target vulnerable populations who are disproportionately afflicted by poor oral health and disease. H.R.4555 will provide racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, and other underserved groups with the tools necessary to seek out regular dental care and prevent the development of serious disease.

Urge the Senate to Take Up H.R.4555

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD has championed the advancement of H.R.4555 through Congress. The legislation will help make oral health literacy a public health priority, leading to increased funding and other support for oral health literacy related education, research, and interventions.