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Although Canada has a public health system for its citizens, most Canadians don’t receive general dental health care coverage under The Canada Health Act (CHA). The CHA outlines federal guidelines for publicly-funded health care insurance.
If Canadians want to visit a dental practice, there are four primary means of access:
The interim Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is a nationwide dental plan formed in 2022. The CDB provides dental care for Canadians who don’t have private dental care coverage.
There’s a considerable amount of confusion regarding the Canada Dental Benefit. It’s often referred to by other names, such as:
A CDB is used to help lower dental costs for low-income families earning less than $90,000 a year and don’t have access to employer-based dental insurance. If you’re paying for dental care for a child under 12, you may be eligible for CDB.
To be eligible, families need to meet all of the following conditions for each child they apply for:
Children already covered under another free dental care government program, such as Healthy Smiles Ontario, are also eligible if not all dental care costs are paid by that program.
The CDB provides payments of up to $650 per child yearly:
CDB can be used for any dental procedure provided by any licensed oral health professional practicing in Canada. CDB covers various dental procedures, including but not limited to:
There are 4 long-standing federal government dental plans that provide free dental care:
Approximately 65% of Canadians can cover partial, if not all, dental-related expenses due to dental insurance. Regarding oral health, Canada ranks favorably among the leading nations in decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT), advanced gum disease, and oral and lip cancer.
Additionally, wait times for a dental visit and treatment are minimal compared to most other countries. Regarding publicly-funded dental support programs, they typically cover dental care for specific groups of people.
Each province and community will offer different oral health care services. If you are interested in learning more about your dental care options, you can take a look at the following websites or contact your local public health unit:
It is estimated that 4.15 million working days for adults are lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick days.
It is estimated that 2.26 million school days are lost annually due to dental visits or sick days.
It’s important to highlight that when Canadians come from low-income households, the likelihood of seeking a consultation from a dental professional is less than those who live in higher-income households. This holds true even for individuals with and without insurance.
Compared to the higher-income group, Canadians from lower-income households had a twofold increase in dental health needs identified. As a result, specific population segments are at a much higher risk of oral health care issues like root canals.
The Indigenous peoples comprise the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. Although different in cultures, heritages, and practices, these groups are vulnerable populations regarding poor oral health.
For instance, the 2008-2009 Inuit Oral Health Survey (IOHS) depicts the Inuit's dental health panorama. Although the Inuit population is commonly younger than the Canadian population, these individuals reported an elevated frequency of food avoidance and oral pain.
Dental check-ups were uncommon in this group, while coronal caries were extremely high. There is an association between poor oral health and other medical conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory illnesses.
Elderly people living in long-term care facilities present with underlying comorbidities. Oral health methodologies and standards of oral care are necessary for these individuals to minimize further risks to overall well-being. This vulnerable segment of the population can also include low-income senior citizens.
These individuals present with oral health care problems when they arrive in the country. Different dental healthcare providers volunteer their time and services to provide immigrants of this status with the treatments they need.
Dental caries and periodontitis (severe gum disease that can destroy bone and undermine tooth support) are more common in this population. However, as eating and interacting socially is vital for these individuals’ well-being, maintaining optimal oral health care is necessary.
Some Canadians who fall within the low-income brackets cannot afford the growing costs of dental care. Lack of dental insurance or access to dental care increases these individuals' risk of worsening oral health.
While the cost of dental care in Canada has increased over time, there has not been a significant change in incomes for those in the lowest economic populations for the last 25 years. However, government-funded dental programs can provide dental care for low-income people.
Children include all Canadians aged 0 to 18 years. Oral health problems, including early childhood caries, tend to arise between 0-6 years. Fostering proper oral self-care behavior while providing universal coverage of children's dental services can lead to better oral health in the long term.
Canada ranks favorably among the leading nations in decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT), advanced gum disease, and oral and lip cancer instances. They also provide various dental care services for people who can’t afford private dental insurance.
Canada also has a Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) program that helps lower dental costs for low-income households. It covers dental services from any licensed oral healthcare professional practicing in Canada.
Various programs are used to provide dental care to certain people like veterans and indigenous people. There are also online resources that provide information on dental care.
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