April 17, 2013

What happened to our government's commitment to Healthy Smiles?

On April 1, 2013, the Toronto Star ran a story about dental care programs for low-income people.  The story, Ontario should stop siphoning money from dental fund for poor: Editorial, brought to light the fact that the government has been simultaneously tightening restrictions to limit access to the fund and bleeding the funds to other programs that are more politically popular.

In 2012, Ontario's chief Medical Officer advised the government and the public that good oral health is key to good, overall health.  Poor dental hygiene has been linked to all sorts of chronic disease such as diabetes, respiratory infections, cardiovascular disease and even osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis (visit page 7 of the report for more details).

Furthermore, in the United States it has been found that  preventing chronic conditions, such as those listed above, could very well save billions of dollars in health care spending annually. Plus, people would not be suffering from chronic illness....which means there is opportunity for increases in productivity and less strain on business.

More than 50 years of experience serving people who live on low incomes across the province has taught MCCO that oral health care is out of reach for too many of Ontario's residents - this is an unacceptable and expensive situation.

Photo courtesy of Ontario ASsociation of Public Health Dentistry
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In Ontario, people living on low-incomes are often working two minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet  - these are jobs that almost never provide additional