Steven Offenbacher, professor in the department of periodontology and director of the Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases Center at the School of Dentistry, testified April 23 at the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee on Appropriations in Washington. DC. This subcommittee will make recommendations for appropriations, specifically NIH funding.
Offenbacher spoke on behalf of the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) and stressed the need for additional research funding for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Centers for Disease Control (Division of Oral Health Care). Offenbacher is past president of the American Association of Dental Research. He also testified for this subcommittee last year.
Offenbacher explained the importance of oral health research and included data to support some of the challenges that children face in the area of oral health.
“Dental Caries (tooth decay) is one of the most common diseases among 5-17 year olds. Eighty percent of tooth decay in permanent teeth in now found in only 25 percent of school aged children. Minority children ages 2-4 in the United States have more tooth decay than white children. Only 23 percent of the children and 15 percent of adolescents have received dental sealants, a simple and noninvasive service to prevent tooth decay,” said Offenbacher.
.”Research into the causes of oral diseases of oral diseases and new ways of treating could save Americans $4 billion annually,” said Offenbacher.
The AADR recommends a Congressional commitment of total of $420,000,000 for NIDCR; $17,000,000 for CDC Oral Health; and $390,000,000 for AHRQ for the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget.
U.S. Representative Ralph Regula of Ohio (above photo) chaired the subcommittee. North Carolina’s Congressman David Price is on the House Appropriations Committee.