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Tuesday, 01 November 2016 21:30

Low-income adults have teeth too

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            The Ontario Oral Health Alliance (OOHA—Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Chapter) wants folks to sign a petition to expand publicly funded dental programs for low-income adults and seniors.

            Most public dental-assistance programs are only for youth under 18.

            The Ontario government has promised to

expand the coverage to adults and seniors by 2025, but this petition calls for it within two years.

             “Many low-income adults with serious dental problems suffer in pain now because they can’t afford to see a dental professional,” says local OOHA member Anna Rusak—also a Health Promoter with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

            That sends them to hospital emergency rooms, who can usually only prescribe painkillers and antibiotics, she says, which “doesn’t address the root cause of the problem.” 

            OOHA says that someone in Ontario winds up in a hospital ER with a dental problem every nine minutes—there were 715 such visits to Lindsay’s Ross hospital in 2012.

            That costs the health-care system about $31 million a year without treating the problem. Programs that support proper dental care for all people will “save unnecessary hospital visits and reduce health care costs in the long run,” says OOHA

             Petition copies are available to be signed at the Health Unit office, 108 Angeline St. South, Lindsay. You can also visit the Ontario Association of Public Health Dentistry website (oaphd.on.ca) to send an electronic message directly to Ontario Health Minister Erik Hoskins.

            Later this fall, OOHA will present the signed petitions to Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott.

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