Dental Tribune International

Dental associations request funding for 2020 military dental research program

WASHINGTON, U.S.: The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) have recently asked Congress to continue in 2020 with the provision of $10 million for funding military dental research focusing on reconstructing and restoring function of craniofacial tissues and structures. This would, in turn, allow federal dental programs to continue to deliver unique research focused on reducing the number of dental emergencies after disease or trauma.

In a letter to U.S. congressmen Pete Visclosky, Chairperson of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and Ken Calvert, Ranking Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, the two organizations asked lawmakers to keep the funding levels at $10 million, which is the same as the current funding. “Over 42 percent of injured service members have had wounds to the head and face. In the last decade alone, over 4,000 service members experienced facial injuries,” wrote the ADA and AADR. “These injuries cause significant physical and emotional challenges for the service member, often resulting in difficulties breathing, eating and speaking.”

The letter also explained that military dental researchers will attempt to devise better methods to address drug-resistant infections. “Solving this problem would not only benefit wounded soldiers but would also have a tremendous impact on all American citizens,” they wrote. According to the organizations, about 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and some 23,000 people subsequently die from these infections. Moreover, dental disease can advance to such a stage that it may even prevent military members from carrying out their duties.

“Previously, congress provided research funding to develop an anti-plaque chewing gum that has proven to significantly reduce bacteria that causes oral disease. This research continues to advance, as phase two of the clinical trials has proven to be safe and efficacious in reducing plaque buildup during the absence of oral hygiene for soldiers in field,” they noted. “Our organizations strongly believe that the funding for the [military dental research] program is worthy and justifiable even in today’s difficult budgetary environment, since the program has a direct and lasting impact on saving lives and improving the quality of life for our military personnel,” the letter concluded.

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