Ontario Government to announce free dental care for low income senior citizens

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Ministers in Ontario are set to announce the introduction of a new dental initiative, which will enable senior citizens on low incomes to access free dental treatment.

The programme, which will cost around $100 million per year, is aimed at over 65’s who have an individual annual income of less than $19,300 or a joint income of less than $32,000.

Under new guidelines, seniors on low incomes will be able to access free dental care through public health units, community centres and health access services.

News of the move, which is expected to be outlined in more detail in the latest budget, has been welcomed by patient groups and health organisations, but there has been criticism of the government related to changes in education policies.

Studies show that oral health plays an instrumental role in general health, especially among older people. Research links poor oral health, particularly advanced gum disease, with an elevated risk of heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. Providing affordable dental care is a means of encouraging older people to see a dentist on a regular basis, and hopefully, reducing the risk of both dental diseases and systematic health conditions.

It is estimated that dental issues account for more than 60,000 visits to the emergency room every year, and policy-makers are hoping that this new programme will help to lower this number and boost standards of oral health among Ontario’s seniors.

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