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Oral Health

 

The Alliance champions affordable and accessible oral health care for children and adults living on low income in Ontario.

OHIP does not cover health care for our teeth and gums. Yet you cannot be truly healthy if you have diseased teeth and gums. Poor oral health makes chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease more severe.

In Ontario 1 in 5 people do not visit a dentist due to the cost of private dental care. When they experience pain and infection they often end up in the hospital emergency room, but can get only painkillers and antibiotics, no treatment there.

Research by the Alliance using MOHLTC data has found that there are almost 60,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms each year and 222,000 visits to doctors for dental pain and infection. This costs the healthcare system at least $38 million annually, with no treatment of the problem.

Limited public dental programs mean that access to oral health care is still based on income, leaving behind too many people who are working poor or living on fixed incomes. Since 2010, Ontario has been offering free public dental programs for children in low-income families, but they are not reaching enough kids. In 2018 the PC government promised a public dental program for low income seniors.

The Alliance wants the Ontario government to extend full treatment public dental programs to low income adults and seniors, including people on social assistance. Alliance members are well positioned to provide these services with 25 CHCs and 3 AHACs running dental clinics that provide cost-effective services with salaried dental staff working within a defined budget.

Take Action

Are you a senior worried about the cost of dental care? Raise your voice to ensure the government delivers on their promise by calling, emailing or visiting your MPP.

Share this educational video – Gap in our healthcare system

To help people spread the word on social media about the gap in oral health care for low-income adults and seniors, the Ontario Oral Health Alliance produced a whiteboard video that spotlights the connection between chronic disease and poor oral health care, as well as the social effects of not having access to dental care. It's a great overview of the current state of oral health care in the province, and the pressure that continuing to ignore the problem puts on emergency departments and family doctors.

In the news

Pre-election Dental Forum at Queen's Park

On March 21, 2018 over 80 community members from across Ontario met at Queen's Park to get MPPs talking about expanding access to dental care - a gaping hole in our healthcare system. They tabled this proposal to all political parties. Read and share the proposal. The Alliance was pleased to see that all 3 major party platforms in the 2018 Ontario election included a commitment to expand access to dental care.

Resources

Partners

Ontario Oral Health Alliance

Ontario Association of Public Health Dentistry