FRIDAY, Aug. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Dental care should be a required part of Medicaid coverage for adults in every state, the American Dental Association and nearly 130 other organizations urge in a letter to Congress.
The groups called on lawmakers to support and advance a bill called the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act.
"Poor oral health hurts more than our mouths," the letter stated. "It can impede an equitable and lasting economic recovery by harming our overall health, employability and financial security. By securing Medicaid dental coverage for adults, Congress can drive health and economic gains for families, states, and our nation."
The letter was sent earlier this month and outlines several reasons why Congress should pass the bill.
Dental coverage is a "glaring hole" in Medicaid benefits, and adding adult dental coverage to Medicaid is key to advancing racial, economic and health justice, the experts said, adding that there are good reasons to do so:
When people can't afford dental care, it threatens national prosperity.
Expanding dental coverage is a cost-effective way to support better health at every age.
A growing number of experts and community leaders support wider access to dental coverage.
"By advancing the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act, lawmakers can promote a sustainable economic recovery and reduce vast health inequities by guaranteeing dental coverage to all adults who count on Medicaid, no matter where they live," the letter stated.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on dental health.
SOURCE: American Dental Association, news release, Aug. 16, 2021