The Delta Dental Plans Association is promoting the importance of including dental benefits in health reform efforts.

The association, which represents a group of 39 dental plans, is trying to reach lawmakers and other policymakers by setting up an educational Web site at http://www.advanceoralhealth.com/

“More than 130 million Americans lack dental benefits coverage,” says Janis Oshensky, a vice president at the Delta Dental Plans Association, Oak Brook, Ill. “As a result, they are nearly half as likely to visit a dentist at least once annually as those with coverage. This endangers not only their oral health, but as studies increasingly show it endangers their overall health as well.”

In addition to using the new Web site to provide general information about oral health and dental benefits, the Delta Dental association is using the site to promote the point that dental carriers should have the flexibility to develop competitive free arrangements.

Moves that decrease the flexibility of dental plans could reduce the number of U.S. residents with dental coverage, the association says.