Undoubtedly Canada’s pride in its universal health care system is strong, alive, and well. Most in this country likely see free healthcare as a necessity, and in some cases, simply a human right. Yet, despite our constant applause for our supposedly universal healthcare system, we do not seem to treat dental care and hygiene the same way we do any other health necessity. General oral care is not recognized under the C.H.A (Canada Health Act) although (as most medical and dental academic journals will tell you) dental and oral care are health care. Dental care and hygiene can be huge factors in the quality of someone’s life particularly within a social and overall health context— In other words your smile matters.
The dental and oral health gap is most significantly felt in two ways: accessibility and inequality. Those who do not have access to general oral care face both social and health issues such as lower rates of successfulness in interviews which lead to higher rates of poverty, along with a higher risk of suffering from oral diseases, and infections (Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Oral Cancers, etc). The maintenance of your oral health also shares a link with overall health, and with serious enough progressions can cause you the troubles of heart disease, and endocarditis— so how will the new government help you maintain and/ or care for that smile?
On Monday, September 20th 2021, the Liberal Party was re-elected to form a minority government. At the moment, the Liberal party and their leader Justin Trudeau do not have any specific plans regarding dental care, but they to plan to extend the range of professionals whom are eligible for Canada student loans to include a wider variety of medical (and other) professionals including but not limited to Dentist, and Dental Hygienist. They also plan to give a tax break to those (health care professionals) who have just started their careers to help with the cost of practicing, along with a commitment to gaining larger access for rural communities to these medical (and other) professionals. Right now nothing that would close the income related dental health gap in the immediate future is being done but the government is taking steps forward that should at least shrink it.
In the past the Liberal Party has made many promises regarding health and support care and has made good on quite a few, but in regards to dental what have they done? Looking through their platform we have found again that the answer is not much for dental and oral care specifically but more for health care as a whole— Oftentimes dentists and other oral care professionals are recognized as medical professionals, and whenever progressions are made towards medical care as a whole, Dental and oral care moves forwards with it; yet we have still to truly recognize general oral care as health care by expanding Medicare or at the very least implementing an alternate system that provides free oral care.
At Toronto Tooth our goals is to fight and raise awareness to the income related gap in relation to dental and oral care specifically by providing homeless youth and adults with oral hygiene product such as toothbrushes and toothpaste— To learn more about us click the “About Us” button and to aid us in our mission by donating please click the “Donate” button.