The province can show their commitment to children by finally fixing the funding gap
TORONTO, ON — The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) has made a formal request to the provincial government to fix its dental program for children with a $50 million investment. The money is to support Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) which provides care to kids under the age of 17 from low-income families.
Dentists currently treat over 254,000 kids under HSO but something has to be done to ensure the more than 530,000 eligible children get the regular care they need. In fact, the province has three other major dental programs for low-income adults, people with disabilities, and those with complex medical conditions and none of them are funded properly either.
ODA President Dr. Kim Hansen recently met with Premier Ford to discuss the issue. Dr. Hansen says, “Dentists have been subsidizing public dental programs by as much as $150 million a year. This is a serious problem that can’t be ignored any longer. Ontario’s dentists have the knowledge, ideas, and passion to work with the government to find a solution.”
That willingness to find solutions includes fixing issues with the newly launched Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. Health units have been working to roll out the program, but confusion remains, particularly for patients. The ODA is still concerned low-income seniors have to endure the inconvenience and financial burden of leaving their current dentist to travel long distances for treatment at government facilities with practitioners who don’t know their health or dental history. Dental buses pose many logistical problems, as well.
The cost of ignoring the dental needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities is much higher than the price of properly funding these programs.
About the Ontario Dental Association
The ODA has been the voluntary professional association for dentists in Ontario since 1867. Today, we represent more than 9,000, or nine in 10, dentists across the province. The ODA is Ontario’s primary source of information on oral health and the dental profession. We advocate for accessible and sustainable optimal oral health for all Ontarians by working with health-care professionals, governments, the private sector and the public. For helpful dental care tips, visit www.youroralhealth.ca.