The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 was overwhelmingly passed by congress last week providing an opportunity to improve oral health across the country. The bill will provide (once signed by the President) additional resources to the CDC to increase funding for groups and organizations to qualify for federal grants that develop programs and expand access to oral health education and care in states and tribal areas.
Grantees are expected to include dentistry and hygiene programs working in rural and underserved areas as well as organizations helping to increase oral health literacy and disease prevention in low-income and minority communities. The Bill is expected to a=invest an additional $133M over the next four years.
CDC will be entering into contracts with state, county, or local public officials and other stakeholders to develop and implement initiatives to: (1 improve oral health education and dental disease prevention; 2) reduce geographic barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, and other similar barriers in the provision of dental services; 3) establish dental homes for children and adults; 4) reduce the use of emergency departments by individuals who seek dental services more appropriately delivered in a dental primary care setting; or 5) facilitate the provision of dental care to nursing home residents.
CDC will still need to flesh out the grant guidance in the coming months before they put out their announcement with the application and expectations.