Sen. Sanders unveils report on nation's 'dental crisis'

ADVERTISEMENT
The report recommends increasing the number of dental providers through the National Health Service Corps and focusing on oral health as part of the healthcare reform law's expansion of federally qualified health centers. It also recommends increasing Medicaid payment rates and boosting preventive services and education.

"It is my hope that through this hearing we will better understand the problems that exist in accessing dental services and will become better educated about the solutions that can help us to reduce barriers to care to improve health and reduce costs," Sanders said.

Sanders released the report during a hearing of his Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions primary care subcommittee. It comes 12 years after the first-ever surgeon general's report on oral health identified a "silent epidemic" of dental and oral diseases, and five years after Maryland 12-year-old Deamonte Driver died from an untreated tooth infection despite being on Medicaid.