The Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act directs the Health Resources and Services Administration to strategize and provide oral health literacy in underserved communities.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has joined the Academy of General Dentists and other dental coalition groups to support the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act. The bipartisan legislation was reintroduced last week by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla-12) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif-29) and directs the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop an oral health literacy strategy to reach underserved communities.

The bill authorizes HRSA to develop a 5-year evidence-based oral health literacy campaign across the agency’s relevant programs. As the collation shared in a letter of support, AAO President, Ken Dillehay, DDS, MS, responded to the group’s efforts:

“The AAO’s considers itself an advocate for all consumers. This bill is an effort to develop effective oral health literacy strategy as well as help reach underserved communities, which we believe is the cornerstone to good health.”

According to the AAO, the work this legislation directs HRSA to undertake will provide insights into the outcomes and effectiveness of targeted oral health literacy strategies and will help inform future initiatives to improve oral health literacy for all Americans. The AAO confirmed its commitment to encourage increased access to quality orthodontic care, and its support of this bill will contribute in the efforts to raise oral health awareness.

In addition to the AAO and AGD, the bill received support from the American Academy of Dental Group Practice, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Endodontists, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Women Dentists, American College of Prosthodontists, American Dental Association, American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists and the American Student Dental Association.