MEDIA ADVISORY – Senate Health Committee To Consider Oral Health Care Measures At Hearing At UMDNJ In Newark

Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, addresses her colleagues on the floor of the State Senate.

Bills Will Focus Greater Attention on Need to Maintain Dental Health

TRENTON – On Thursday, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will convene a hearing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark to discuss measures intended to promote better dental health practices and a greater focus on oral hygiene as part of a holistic approach to health care.

“Oftentimes, less attention is paid to dental health than should be, especially later in life, and the foundation for good dental health is laid in a person’s formative years,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, and chair of the health committee. “Good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups should be as much a part of a person’s health care regimen as visiting your primary care provider. Through these bills, we’re hoping to bring more attention to the issue of dental health in New Jersey, and encourage better dental health habits among our youngest residents.”

The Committee is expected to hear testimony from invited guests on the importance of oral health care, and on issues connected to dental health in New Jersey. In addition to the testimony from invited speakers, the Committee will also review four bills designed to promote better dental health practices:

• S-2317, sponsored by Senator Weinberg: Establishes NJ Center for Oral Health at UMDNJ Dental School;

• S-2318, sponsored by Senator Weinberg: Requires public schools to include instruction on oral health as part of core curriculum content standards;

• SJR-20, sponsored by Health Committee Vice Chair, Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex: Designates month of February in each year as “Children’s Dental Health Month;”

FOR DISCUSSION ONLY:

• S-2215, sponsored by Senator Weinberg: Requires dentist to notify patient before providing dental prosthesis manufactured outside United States.

“Particularly in the communities I represent, dental health isn’t given the attention it deserves, and for folks in Newark and around the State, we’re hoping to change that,” said Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, a member of the health panel who invited the committee to testify in his district. “This hearing and these bills are all about encouraging better health care practices among children throughout the State, especially in terms of oral health. The State needs to do a better job educating kids about the importance of taking care of their teeth, as part of a larger focus on better health care practices moving forward.”

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2 PM at the NJ Dental School Oral Health Pavilion of UMDNJ, 110 Bergen Street, Newark, NJ 07101.