Ask Your Senators to Cosponsor S.5073

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Dec 7, 2022
Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently introduced S.5073, the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act of 2022, in the U.S. Senate. S.5073 would establish a public health education campaign to promote oral health literacy (OHL) among the at-risk populations served by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). An identical bill, H.R.4555, passed the House of Representatives last year by an overwhelming 369-58 vote.

Dentists continue to observe, and research documents, significant disparities in dental care and the progression of preventable tooth decay and disease by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. On average, over 34 million school hours and more than $45 billion in productivity is lost annually due to untreated dental disease and dental emergencies requiring unplanned care. The oral healthcare system remains underutilized, with only 46.2% of Americans visiting a dentist in 2018.

OHL, defined as the individual capacity to understand and use health information to transform oral health behaviors, is key to increasing utilization of the oral health care system and improving health outcomes. S.5073 authorizes HRSA to receive $750,000 per annum for fiscal years 2023 through 2027 to establish an OHL education campaign that communicates directly with many of the populations most impacted by poor oral health. Increasing OHL among the at-risk populations served by HRSA will help prevent the development of serious disease, mitigate high-cost emergency care, and encourage greater use of the oral healthcare system.

With your help, the AGD has successfully championed the advancement of the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act through the House of Representatives and lobbied for its introduction in the Senate. AGD needs you to help make it law.

Please use the link below to send your Senators a prewritten email urging them to cosponsor S.5073.

Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor S.5073