Fluoride Action Network

Senate includes dental caries report language

Source: Government Affairs Blog of the American Assoc for Dental Research (AADR) | July 24th, 2014 | By Carolyn Mullen

Today, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee released the report [link doesn’t work] accompanying the FY15 Senate LHHS Bill. The subcommittee proposes funding levels of $30.5 billion for NIH and $402.4 million for NIDCR [National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research]. Additionally, on page 97 the subcommittee included report language about dental caries.

Dental Caries.—The Committee recognizes that dental caries remain the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, resulting in a significant economic and health burden to the American people. Although caries has significantly decreased for most Americans over the past 4 decades, disparities remain among some population groups and this downward trend has recently reversed for young children. The Committee is concerned about conflicting information in the media regarding the benefits of community fluoridation and urges NIDCR to enhance efforts to communicate sound science related to dental caries and their prevention.”

At this time it is unclear when or if the full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation due to the continued contentious political climate. According to media reports Congress will most likely approve a short term continuing resolution funding the federal government at fiscal year 2014 levels through the November elections.

Comment from Scott Tomar:

Right sentiment, wrong agency.  NIDCR’s primary role is to fund research; it should be CDC’s job to “enhance efforts to communicate sound science related to dental caries and their (sic) prevention” and promote community water fluoridation.  That’s how it works with most other chronic diseases.  For example, NCI funds a wide range of cancer research, but CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control runs the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.   Such programs are actually implemented at the state and local level.   Fluoridation, like most other public health measures, is implemented at the local level so it needs promotion, funding and infrastructure at that level.  NIDCR is not a public health agency and is not designed to support state and local public health initiatives.