ADA President, Robert M. Brandjord, DDS, has released a statement on the inclusion of a stable dental benefit in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill.

“The American Dental Association applauds the Congress for including a stable, comprehensive dental health benefit in legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program,” says Brandjord. “Congress has ensured that disadvantaged children will receive the care that they need to enjoy good oral health. At the same time, this legislation provides states with sufficient flexibility in administering their programs to avoid their dropping dental coverage during economic downturns.”

Brandjord continues, “Tooth decay remains the most prevalent, chronic disease among children in this country. Although almost entirely preventable, if left untreated it can impede a child’s ability to eat, speak, smile, and learn. Minority, poor, and geographically isolated children suffer disproportionately, with 80% of all tooth decay occurring in 25% of children.”

According to Brandjord, this bill is crucial for the health of America’s children and is a fitting tribute to the memory of Deamonte Driver, the 12-year-old Maryland boy who died earlier this year when his untreated tooth abscess led to a brain infection. Enactment of this bill will move the nation closer to the day when no children suffer with—let alone die from—untreated dental disease.

The ADA, representing 155,000 dentists and their patients, urged President Bush to sign—or at least not to veto—the legislation.

[ADA, September 28, 2007]