Georgia House of Representatives Commends GDA Member Dentists for Removing Barriers to Dental Care
A recent study by the ADA Health Policy Institute found two out of three Georgians feel good about the overall condition of their mouth and teeth. Progress is being made, particularly among children. Programs put in place by the Georgia Dental Association are contributing to closing the gap among oral health disparities. Key findings site how adults in Georgia view their oral health in the areas of day-to-day function and well-being, appearance, attitudes toward oral health/dental care and reasons for not visiting a dentist more frequently. Read the full report at Georgia Dental Association.
“Oral health has a far greater impact than most people realize. The appearance of a person’s mouth and teeth affects their confidence, self-esteem, ability to get a job and even their quality of life,” says Georgia Dental Association Executive Director Frank J. Capaldo. “Education is key. Failure to have regular dental checkups and maintain good oral hygiene can have health consequences that extend far beyond the teeth and mouth. Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.”
Member dentists of the Georgia Dental Association were recognized by the Georgia House of Representatives for removing barriers that prevent people in their communities from accessing dental care and in educating the public on the benefits of proper oral hygiene. House Resolution 1060 by State Representatives Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin), Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) and John Burns (R-Newington) commended dentists of the Georgia Dental Association for “their long-standing commitment and dedication to promoting the oral health of all Georgia’s citizens and for protecting the safety of their patients.”
The Georgia Dental Association has been leading the way with diverse, creative solutions to addressing barriers to care through initiatives outlined in its Georgia’s Action for Dental Health plan. Initiatives include:
- Placing more dentists in rural communities-The association successfully advocated for a student loan repayment program in the state budget, making it possible for an additional 12 dentists to practice in Georgia’s rural areas.
- Delivering charitable care through Mission of Mercy clinics-Since 2011, the Georgia Dental Association and its foundation have hosted three Georgia Mission of Mercy clinics, providing over 32,000 procedures and $5.1 million in donated care.
- Establishing a statewide program to treat elderly and medically fragile patients at no cost-Established is 2016, the Donated Dental Services program provides free, comprehensive dental treatment and labs for Georgia adults with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile.
- Providing donated dental care for children and the special needs community-In conjunction with Children’s Dental Health Month, Georgia Dental Association member dentists provide in excess of $100,000 of donated dental care and services each February to underserved children in the state. Member dentists also provide free dental health services at the Georgia Special Olympics Summer Games and Master Bowling Tournament.
- Volunteering in free and charitable dental clinics-Dentists in Georgia consistently provide millions of dollars in donated care to underserved and low-income patients by volunteering in free and charitable dental clinics throughout the state and through free treatment given in their offices.
Georgia’s Action for Dental Health initiatives reach every person in Georgia. The most visible component of the program is an educational campaign titled “Because I Saw My Dentist,” which promotes the importance of good oral health and motivates consumers to see their dentist regularly for better overall health. The campaign profiles real Georgians telling their stories of how finding a dental home and seeing a dentist changed their lives dramatically. To view the stories and find a dentist near you, visit www.becauseisawmydentist.com.
Frank J. Capaldo, Georgia Dental Association Executive Director, is available for interviews via email or phone. Creative assets and a full report are available via these links:
About the Georgia Dental Association
The Georgia Dental Association (GDA) is the state’s largest dental association, representing more than 3,400 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information in Georgia, the GDA has promoted the highest standards of dentistry through education, advocacy and professionalism since 1859. A constituent of the American Dental Association, the GDA is based in Atlanta.