Institute for Oral Health Dentist and child



2013: The Impact of Policy on Oral Health Care Delivery

While oral health policy is advancing with the rollout of health care reform, millions of underserved populations are still struggling with little or no access to affordable dental care or dental coverage.

Our September 2013 IOH Conference in Washington, D.C. highlighted the challenges in policymaking and where we are headed. We also explored important research and coalitions working hard to raise awareness on the need for oral health care in underserved and underinsured populations such as minorities, people living with HIV/AIDS, and Native American cultures.

Some highlights from the conference included:

  • The challenges of advancing oral health policy – Allocating resources for many competing interests to serve the greatest number of people is a tough job. For oral health policy, we need to consistently advocate clear definitions on why dental care matters biologically and how it impacts livelihood and well being through all stages of life.

  • An innovative, sustainable care delivery model – From rural Alabama, Sarrell Dental is making headline news with its innovative business model for serving low-income communities without the help of government grants. The organization has grown to numerous clinics with top of the line equipment through unique patient-centric approaches. From a dentist-rotation schedule that optimizes efficiencies to engaging college kids to increase chair utilization, Sarrell Dental engages families, communities, even pro athletes, to promote the importance of oral health care. Read the whitepaper >

  • Oral health and HIV/AIDS – Since the first cases of AIDS appeared in 1981, AIDS awareness and advocacy have evolved fairly rapidly. Yet this population still battles with inadequate access and coverage for dental care. Coalitions like are striving to advance policy in Ryan White dental programs and Medicaid to better support oral health as a vitally important factor in the overall health of people living with HIV/AIDS.