Key Takeaway

  • Ontario should have strong dental programs, but instead it spends only $4.99 per person on public dental services, far below the national average of $15.53.
  • Oral health and overall health are connected and when dental issues are left untreated, they can have a great impact on a person’s quality of life.
  • The federal Canadian Dental Care Plan may present us with an opportunity to improve access to dental care but only if our provincial dental programs are strong and fully funded.

The ODA firmly believes that Ontarians should have access to safe, high quality dental care. Dentists know the important connection between oral and overall health. When dental issues are left untreated, adults have difficulty getting and holding jobs,  children miss days of school, and the hospital system has more pressure put on it as patients go to emergency rooms with dental problems.

Dentists provide care to vulnerable patients under Ontario’s dental programs: to children from low-income families through Healthy Smiles Ontario; to adults through the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works; and to patients requiring emergency and complex care in hospitals through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. However, these dental programs are severely underfunded and have been so for more than a decade. Ontario spends only $4.99 per person on public dental services. This is far below the national average of $15.53 per person.

The federal government’s Canadian Dental Care Plan is an opportunity to improve access to dental care, but it can only do that if it works with existing provincial dental programs. That isn’t the case right now. For example, low-income families cannot benefit from both Healthy Smiles Ontario and the interim Canada Dental Benefit. A parent/guardian has to choose from one of these programs at the expense of their child’s best interests.

The ODA is working with the government of Ontario to make sure that Ontarians can fully benefit from strong provincial programs and the Canadian Dental Care Plan.

To learn more about what the current provincial dental care plans cover and if you qualify, visit our Government Dental Programs page.

To get the most up-to-date information on the federal dental care plan and Canada Dental Benefit, visit our Canadian Dental Care Plan page.