Working Towards Increasing Access to Oral Health

As you may know, the province of Ontario does not provide universal dental health coverage to its residents. In fact, one in three Ontarians does not have dental care insurance of any kind, and one in five does not visit a dentist because they cannot afford it. For example, individuals earning low wages or those unable to afford extended health benefits are without dental insurance and cannot afford to miss days at work to seek care. Seniors who lose dental coverage when they retire and live on a fixed income are also affected by the lack of a publicly funded dental program in Ontario.

There are programs in some municipalities that provide limited access to fill the gap that has been left out of Medicare, but access to these is difficult because of long wait lists. Existing provincial programs provide only a limited range of dental services and omit vulnerable groups of the population.

The Vaughan Community Health Centre has begun to advocate for better access to oral health care for all Ontarians. We have researched available literature that describes in detail the damaging effects of the lack of access to oral health. We have found that dental issues such as missing or damaged teeth are closely related to the lack of self-confidence that could impact a person’s social relationships and ability to find a job. Infected teeth or gums are not only painful, they can lead to poor nutrition and lack of sleep, and cause serious health conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. We feel that this is a significant and costly problem that must be addressed.

How can you help? We are currently seeking residents of the Vaughan community willing to share their stories with us. Have you, your family members or friends experienced problems related to the lack of access to dental services within the region? Is this an issue that concerns you and that you would like to help solve? We would love to hear your stories, give a voice to your concerns and hear your input as to the future direction of our advocacy initiative.

Please fill out a brief survey to help us advocate for your dental needs by clicking on the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XWJSM6D

 

Behind the Masks Video:

In 2010 PACC, Poverty Action for Change Coalition witnessed the fruition of their efforts, hosting York Region’s ISARC social audit, inside “The Hub”, a spot in York Region that housed a shelter, food bank, homelessness resources, outreach and info for those in need. The social audit, organized in a collaboration including members of faith and social service providers was conduced at north and south York Region Ontario locations for input. The resulting gleaned information was put together in a report entitled ” Behind The Masks”. The section on access to adequate oral health is from the 8:48 minutes until 10:09 minutes.

Be an Advocate for Change! 

Ontario Oral Health Alliance E-Action Campaign

The Problem:

  • More than 2.3 million people living in Ontario – one of the most affluent places on earth – cannot afford to visit a dentist or dental hygienist. Most are low-income seniors and adults.
  • The good news is that in 2014 the Ontario government promised to extent public dental programs to low income adults and seniors..But, not until 2025
  • This may translate into 9 more years of suffering from dental pain and infection for people in our communities who cannot afford much needed dental treatment.
  • We Can Do Better

Add YOUR Voice: Go to www.aohc.org/oral-health to send a message to Ontario’s Health Minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, to let him know that we need government action now!

Tweet a Message: Use the hashtag #OralHealthEquity, #ONdental or #ONpoli

Resources:

York Region Dental Health Resource

Get Involved:

Please email us at info@vaughanhealthcarechc.com should you have any inquiries regarding becoming a part of the Vaughan Community Health Centre’s advocacy initiative

PROGRAMS