Dentists call on province to fund kids program

North Bay Nugget

Metro Creative Graphics

Dozens of dentists from across the province, including some from North Bay, are heading to Queen’s Park Wednesday to talk with MPPs about a funding solution for public dental-care programs.

Of particular concern is the Healthy Smiles Ontario program for kids.

“Currently, 540,000 children and youth are eligible for treatment under the plan, but only 260,000 of them are getting it,” according to the Ontario Dental Association.

Tooth decay is the second most common reason why kids miss school, the association notes, yet this is avoidable with good dental-care routines and regular checkups.

“Having properly funded public dental care programs just makes sense,” said ODA president David Stevenson in a release. “In the case of Healthy Smiles Ontario, I’ll be asking Minister (Christine) Elliott to invest in HSO to prevent needless pain and negative impacts on kids’ health and social lives as they grow up.”

The dental association says $38 million is wasted annually as Ontarians “resort to preventable emergency room visits for dental issues that usually result in patients getting painkillers and antibiotics, but no long-term solution to their problem,” according to the ODA.

Dentists from Timmins, Sudbury, Timiskaming, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie also will be joining their southern counterparts in pressuring the government to fund public oral-care programs.

For more information, visit oda.ca/healthysmiles

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