Alexandria, Va. – On March 20, on behalf of the American Association for Dental Research, AADR Executive Director Christopher H. Fox, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., testified in support of oral health research and its inclusion in comparative effectiveness research before the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities. AADR was the only group to testify for the inclusion of oral health research. Citing statistics about the disease burden and economic burden of dental diseases, Fox urged the Committee to include oral, dental and craniofacial diseases on the national priority list for comparative effectiveness research.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary, Americans spent $95.2 billion on dental services in 2007, and the vast majority of that came from private sources. Only 6.4 percent of dental services are paid from Federal or state and local sources. Forty-four percent of dental services are covered directly by consumers through out-of-pocket payments. This compares with 12 percent out-of-pocket costs across all national health expenditures.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditures Survey, in 2006, Americans spent $76 billion on dental visits– second only to heart conditions. Americans spend more on dental visits than trauma-related disorders, cancer or COPD/asthma.
“The economic burden of oral, dental and craniofacial diseases is real, and unlike other medical expenditures, the burden of dental expenditures is borne much more by individuals and private sources, than by government funds,” said Fox. “I hope that the Committee will strongly consider adding a robust oral health portfolio to its recommendations for comparative effectiveness research, taking into consideration the disease burden and economic burden of these diseases and conditions on the U.S. population.”