Chronic underfunding of the Healthy Smiles Ontario Program leaves more than 300,000 children in need.
March 28, 2018
TORONTO, ON — Today’s budget announcement proposes a new drug and dental program starting next year. However, this announcement does not take meaningful action for kids from low-income families who are eligible for the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program right now.
The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) has been alerting everyone to the dangers of the serious funding gap in public dental care. Dentists across the province currently treat about 200,000 kids under the HSO program but there are 500,000 eligible children and youth in the province who deserve to get the dental care and relief they need.
Dr. LouAnn Visconti, ODA President, says, “For over a decade, Ontario’s dentists have been going to Queen’s Park to personally explain to MPPs how dental pain is the second-most common reason children miss school. The ODA strongly believes no child should go to bed in pain but we need the provincial government to be a reliable partner in making sure that doesn’t happen to kids from low-income families. Sadly, we’re still waiting and so are the children.”
It’s been decades since the province took over the administration of dental care for at-risk groups, but funding for these programs hasn’t kept up with demand. Today’s budget announcement means that hazardous trend will likely continue, which is why the ODA is urging all political parties to make this a campaign issue heading into the provincial election on June 7.
Dentists have been keeping these programs going but the time has come for all political parties to talk about addressing the chronic underfunding of the Healthy Smiles Ontario program.
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 more information on this and other helpful dental care tips, visit www.youroralhealth.ca.
ODA Communications and Public Affairs
416-922-4162 ext. 3314