Ontario set for 45 million dollar project to improve children’s dental health

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Ontario’s Health Minister will reveal details of a 45 million dollar oral health project today.

Deb Matthews will outline details of a new ‘Healthy Smiles’ programme, which is set to benefit more than 100,000 children. The programme will cost taxpayers around 45 million dollars per year but health officials feel the new initiative is essential.

Currently, thousands of children go without the dental care they need because their parents or carers cannot afford dental treatment. The new initiative will target poor children in the Ontario area and parents must fill out forms to ensure children are eligible for care provided by the Healthy Smiles programme. The scheme is aimed at children from low income families.

The money will be spent on increasing the range of services available to poor children; eligible children will now be able to benefit from a range of treatments including fillings, routine examinations, extractions, dental X-rays and preventative treatments.

The new programme has been launched to help level the playing field between children from wealthy backgrounds and poor children; a study conducted in 2007 found that children with poor oral health were more likely to struggle with health problems and less likely to get a job than those with good oral health.

Deb Matthews said the scheme was designed to help the poorest children, as the resources were not available to help all children; the government is fighting a huge 19.7 billion dollar deficit this year and money was available only to invest in services for those desperately in need.

The programme is already up and running and eligible children can benefit from services at any of the thirty six public health units across Ontario. 

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