The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) is asking the province to invest in public dental programs. Taking action now to properly fund existing programs like Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) could save the province millions of dollars a year in unnecessary hospital and doctor visits, the ODA reports.
Dentists across the province currently treat about 260,000 kids under HSO but more should be done to ensure that all 540,000 eligible children and youth get regular treatment, the ODA says, meaning fewer kids in pain and less expense for the healthcare system in the long run.
“I’ve been treating kids in the HSO and similar programs for decades, and I know what a positive difference it makes for the children to get care just like everyone else, and also for their parents, who are relieved to know their son or daughter is getting the preventive dental treatment they need to stay healthy and well,” said ODA president Dr. David Stevenson.
According to the ODA, it has been waiting for more than a decade for long-term funding solutions to fix public dental care programs. The organization further says that now is the right time for the new Ontario government to take meaningful action so that children from low-income families get quality dental care in their communities.