The ADA expressed support for the CARE for Moms Act, legislation that supports the maternal health care workforce by expanding access to pre- and post-partum care, including dental coverage.
In two separate letters addressed to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., the ADA thanked each official for introducing the bill and emphasized the importance of maintaining dental health in order to prevent disease.
“Good oral health is an important part of good overall health, which is especially important during pregnancy and postpartum as untreated dental disease can be harmful to mother and baby,” the letter reads.
According to the ADA, women are more likely to develop gingivitis during pregnancy. Not only can this cause swelling and tenderness, but gingivitis can also progress to severe gum disease if left untreated. The Association added that untreated decay in new moms can cause their infants to acquire the bacteria, putting them at higher risk for tooth decay.
The letter suggested naming the Dental Quality Alliance as an entity advising the secretary of Health and Human Services regarding "appropriate quality measures for receipt of dental services by pregnant women within Medicaid programs.” Formed at the request of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the DQA aims to advance performance measurement in order to improve oral health and patient care.
The ADA also advocated for identifying the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare ProView within the legislation as the single source for credentialing data collection and requiring a 90-day timeframe to complete the process.
“We thank you for your efforts to improve and maintain the oral health of mothers across our nation. We look forward to working with you as this legislation advances,” the letter said.
Follow all the ADA’s advocacy efforts on workforce at ADA.org/advocacy.