Dental Tribune Canada
Minister of Health Patty Hajdu is working with Parliament to study the possibility of national dental care, under instruction provided by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019. (Photo: Fernanda Publio, Burst)

Canadian oral-health associations support consideration of national dental care

By Dental Tribune Canada
December 18, 2019

OTTAWA, Ontario, CANADA: The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association and the Canadian Dental Association have each have come out in support of the possibility of universal dental care in Canada.

In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent instructions to the Hon. Patty Hajdu, minister of health, to work with Parliament to study the possibility of national dental care.

“More access to preventive oral care could significantly reduce pressure on Canada’s acute health care system,” says CDHA President Leanne Huvenaars. “Dental care in Canada is currently based on ability to pay rather than need. A national dental care program would improve accessibility and enhance preventive oral care for millions of Canadians.”

The CDA released the following statement: “The CDA is always committed to working with any government to establish and maintain dental programs to meet the needs of those who are not currently able to access dental care. Interested to understand clearly who will be covered and what will be covered, the CDA also looks forward to consulting with any and all parties going forward to ensure that programs are appropriately designed to provide affordable access to oral health for all Canadians.”

According to the CDHA, while national dental care is being studied, there are immediate steps that can be taken to improve the oral health of Canadians, particularly for those who face barriers to care. The CDHA is encouraging the federal government to allocate resources to expand the Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI) to more regions and to a wider age range. Doing so, according to CDHA representatives, will reduce medical transportation expenditures, enhance health care delivery and improve health outcomes in indigenous communities.

In addition, the CDHA advocates having the federal government work with provincial partners to implement national guidelines for preventive oral care in long-term care facilities to counter the growing problem of poor oral health among Canada’s seniors. “We look forward to sharing the expertise of Canada’s dental hygienists with Parliament and to helping close the gaps in oral care nationally,” says Huvenaars.

About the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 29,549 dental hygienists in Canada, directly representing 20,000 individual members, including students. Since 1963, CDHA has worked to advance the profession and promote the importance of oral health. Dental hygiene is the sixth largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit www.cdha.ca and www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.

About the Canadian Dental Association
The CDA is the national voice for dentistry in Canada, and supports dedicated funding as part of the Canada Health Transfer between the federal government and the provinces for targeted oral health programs administered by the provinces and territories.

(Sources: CDHA and CDA)

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