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- Local MPP to Present Petition Calling for Expanded Dental-Support Programs to Include Adults -

A local petition calling for more publicly-funded dental support programs for adults and seniors in Ontario is on its way to Queen’s Park.

The signatures of 1,050 people in the Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Brock area have been collected on a petition presented to local MPP Laurie Scott. Since last fall, members of the Ontario Oral Health Alliance – Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Chapter have been circulating the petition in this region. The petition calls for the Ontario government to expand publicly-funded dental assistance programs to cover low-income adults and seniors. The local petition is part of a province-wide effort to fix the current situation.

MPP Scott has agreed to table the petition in the Ontario Legislature, on behalf of the local chapter of the Ontario Oral Health Alliance.

“We’re very pleased at MPP Scott’s willingness to present the petition on behalf of her constituents, and hope it spurs action within the Ontario government,” says Anna Rusak, a local chapter member of the Oral Health Alliance. “We’re also very grateful to every person who signed the petition and sees the need for action.”

At present, most publicly-funded dental assistance programs in Ontario are limited to children and youth 17 years of age and younger. This age restriction, according Rusak, means that low-income adults and seniors with serious dental problems suffer in pain because they cannot afford to see a dental professional for proper care.

While the Ontario government has promised to expand dental coverage to adults and seniors by 2025, the Ontario Oral Health Alliance petition calls for that to be done within two years. Rusak says expanding dental programs now is a valuable investment. As she notes: “Preventing dental problems before they start will save money in the end.”

The Ontario Oral Health Alliance estimates that very nine minutes, someone in Ontario winds up in a hospital ER with a dental problem. This costs the health care system approximately $31 million every year with no treatment of the problem.

The Ontario Oral Health Alliance – Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Chapter is made up of representatives from local health and social service agencies. They advocate for better access to dental care for all residents.

For media inquiries, contact:
Anna Rusak, Oral Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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