Did you know that most of our United States military veterans do not qualify for dental care through the Veteran’s Administration (VA)?
Dental care is available only to Veterans who have a 100% disability rating. Yet studies show that regular dental care improves overall health and is a factor in preventing chronic disease.
Many of our Veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress, family crises, and have been chronically unemployed. Some are homeless and some are in substance recovery programs.
One Veteran, Ken, shared with us that he had been trying over the last few years to have the remaining teeth in his mouth removed so that he could finally obtain a denture so that he can digest his meals better and perhaps have the confidence to obtain employment.
Though he receives care from the VA system, and though he is a cancer survivor, he is ineligible for any dental care from the VA since he does not have a 100% disability rating.
USA Veteran Smiles
Dentists in West Central Florida are working together with Congressman Gus Bilirakis to help with this problem. Our annual Stars, Stripes & Smiles event aids area Veterans with dental care, at no cost to the Veteran, to provide relief for priority dental pain and infection conditions. With the help of generous businesses that support this event, and the doctors and volunteers that donate their time, we can treat these very deserving patients, and raise awareness of the needs of this segment of our Veteran community.
The VET CARE Act
In May 2017, Congressman Bilirakis introduced a bill to require the VA to put in place a four-year pilot program providing dental care for Veterans. You can learn more about the Veterans Early Treatment for Chronic Ailment Resurgence through Examinations (VET CARE) Act, by visiting Congressman Bilirakis’s website here.
There are many ways to help with this cause. You can volunteer for this year's event, and help promote the need for dental care for Veterans on social media, using the hashtag #veteransmiles.