Ontario is expanding the dental care for children in low-income families. The new Healthy Smiles Ontario Program will provide free dental care to more than 323,000 children. Children from low-income families can access free preventive, routine, emergency and essential care from licensed dental providers.
The intregation of six dental programs into one, provides a simpler enrolment process – also meaning that 70,000 more children from low-income families have become eligible for free dental services. Applicants can now sign up for this program online at ontario.ca/healthysmiles. They can also contact their local public health unit for information and support.
Untreated oral health problems can affect children in many ways, including their ability to eat, sleep and concentrate in school. This new program is part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy commitment to build community capacity to deliver oral health prevention and treatment services to children and youth from low-income families in Ontario.
Investing in dental care for children and youth is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
“We are making it easier for children to get the dental care they need because having good oral health and a healthy smile can have positive impacts on a child’s overall health, self-esteem and ability to learn. Families are encouraged to visit ontario.ca/healthysmiles to find out if they’re eligible and to enrol in this program. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases, but it’s preventable with the proper dental care, and our expanded Healthy Smiles program is helping more kids access these important services.” — Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“A healthy smile on a child not only gives a visual idea of a child’s oral health but it also reflects the critical issue of a healthy child free from the pain and health consequences of dental disease, including cavities and gum disease. We’re helping low-income families to raise healthier kids by getting them the dental care they need and the smile they deserve.” — Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario
“Ontario’s dentists support and advocate for accessible dental care for all. The ODA was pleased when the government streamlined six children’s oral-care programs into the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. Eliminating duplication and creating a single program means more children and youth can go to school with a healthy smile. We will continue to work with the government to ensure sustainable and equitable funding for dental programs.” — Dr. Victor Kutcher, President, Ontario Dental Association