Last week, the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry (CAPHD) commended the Canadian Medical Association for our “Demand a Plan” advocacy strategy. The CAPHD stated they are in support of the campaign and agree with the CMA that a National Seniors Strategy is needed. The CAPHD also highlighted that an important aspect of any strategy, would be to improve the oral health of all Canadians. Oral health is a significant public health issue that affects the general health and quality of life of all Canadians, especially those with limited access to care (i.e., seniors).
CAPHD further stated that as a nation we spend over $12 billion dollars (annually) on oral health care, with just 6% of these costs covered by government funding. The remaining 94% comes from private sources (e.g., employment based benefits, out-of-pocket payments). A great deal of this expenditure is put toward treatment of oral diseases that is largely preventable with sufficient access to preventive oral health care and public health investments.
The CAPHD shared two resources that illustrate the issue of inequitable access to oral health care for seniors in Canada:
- The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) report, “Improving access to oral health care for vulnerable people living in Canada”. http://www.cahs-acss.ca/
- Personal stories- CBC Podcast featuring personal stories of seniors living without dental care http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/2015/11/19/the-price-of-no-dental-coverage/