What more could you ask for? Hundreds of dental professionals on the Hill. Students engaging with experienced dentists and lobbyists. Cherry blossoms in bloom. This was the scene during the 2018 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, held April 8–10, where more than 1,000 dentists and students gathered from across the country to advocate on behalf of our profession.
Next week, hundreds of dental students and dentists will be participating in my favorite day: lobby day. This year will be exciting, as we have two pieces of legislation that have passed the House with overwhelming support, and it’s also the second year that ADA and ASDA have lobbied together on Capitol Hill. The beauty of this day is that regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political persuasion, we unite as one “tooth party” to advocate for legislation that promotes oral health.
Overcoming barriers to health care access is a top priority in dentistry. It was the basis of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, a community-based initiative to improve oral health in the United States. A 2014 report by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) found that in 2012, only about one in three working-age adults went to a dentist. A large part of the population doesn’t receive regular dental care. We know this can result in severe morbidities and, in rare cases, mortality. How do we overcome the barriers some of these patients face? The community dental health coordinator (CDHC).