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Legislation to improve dental health
Updated: 3/6/2009 5:00:11 PM

Legislation to improve dental health A new bill that would give the FDA new authority and resources for tobacco regulation was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a dental health action that was commended by the American Dental Association.

In a letter to Representatives Henry Waxman, the committee chair who offered the bill, and Todd Platts, the lead Republican among 124 bipartisan cosponsors, ADA president John S. Findley said legislation preventing oral cancer and other tobacco-related diseases was "a high priority" for the ADA.

"The Association is especially concerned about recent attempts to market smokeless tobacco as a healthier (or less harmful) alternative to cigarettes. Tobacco users are at least six times more likely to develop oral cancer, a disease that progresses rapidly and can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early," Findley wrote.

The legislation allows the FDA to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of smoking and smokeless tobacco products as "inherently dangerous and cause (of) cancer, heart disease and other adverse health effects," according to the ADA.

People who smoke regularly increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. The ADA has recommended people avoid tobacco products and administer daily dental care for optimal health.

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