Ontario is expanding eligibility for free dental care to more children and youth in low-income families.
Starting April 2014, the province will increase access to oral health services such as cleanings, diagnostic services and basic treatment by expanding eligibility for the Healthy Smiles Ontario program.
The expansion is part of Ontario’s five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy which was launched in 2008. According to government numbers, the child poverty rate in Ontario has dropped to 13.6 per cent in 2011, from 15.2 per cent in 2008.
Though preventable, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. It affects 57 per cent of children and 59 per cent of adolescents. In young children, cavities can contribute to poor nutrition, affect their ability to speak clearly, and impede the growth of healthy adult teeth.