For families with low-incomes, juggling finances and dental treatment for their children is tough at best. For the families of 1,300 KFL&A children and youth, things just got a little easier thanks to a new, no cost dental program now available to eligible children 17 years-old and younger in the KFL&A area.
Healthy Smiles Ontario, announced at a press conference by John Gerretsen, M.P.P. for Kingston and the Islands, will ensure access to check-ups, fillings, x-rays, and other dental care procedures to children who meet the eligibility criteria. The program will allow families to get services through dentists in the area, at new facilities to be built in North Kingston and Napanee, and through portable hygiene clinics throughout the KFL&A area.
“Good oral health is important to overall health,” said Susan Stewart, manager of dental health with KFL&A Public Health. “Yet, for some children, regular dental care isn’t affordable. This new program will support a proactive approach for dental health services. Children from low-income families will be able to access dental services when they need them and receive health education to increase their awareness of the importance of good oral health.”
“Oral health disease is more common with low-income families and children are the most vulnerable,” said Stewart. “These families usually have limited or no access to dental services. The longer treatment is delayed, the more extensive and costly the treatment becomes. This program will give 1,300 KFL&A children and youth a real chance to avoid the painful consequences of long-term tooth decay and the need for invasive and costly dental procedures.”
“KFL&A Public Health is pleased to be the local lead agency for this program and to provide broader dental services to children in need in this community,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health. “The KFL&A Board of Health has long been an advocate for the dental health of children, and this program will make routine dental care available to many more children and youth in the KFL&A area.”
KFL&A Public Health is working with the Kingston Community Health Centre to build dental treatment facilities at the North Kingston and Napanee locations. These facilities will enhance dental care access for low-income families. KFL&A Public Health is also expanding preventive services through the use of a portable hygiene equipment, allowing dental hygienists and dental assistants from the agency to provide preventive services across the KFL&A area. Most importantly, eligible families on the program will be able to access services from their dental care provider of choice who participates in the program.
Healthy Smiles Ontario provides dental care at no cost to children and youth who:
• are 17 years old and under,
• are members of a household with an Adjusted Family Net Income of $20,000 per year or less, and
• do not have access to any form of dental coverage.
“It is important that we give our children the best start in life,” said John Gerretsen, M.P.P. for Kingston and the Islands. “This program will ensure that children have access to dental care when they need it most.”
To access services through Healthy Smiles Ontario, an application form can be picked up at any KFL&A Public Health office (Kingston, Napanee, Cloyne, and Sharbot Lake).
When the application is submitted, supporting documentation must be shown to demonstrate program eligibility. For information, visit KFL&A Public Health’s Website at www.kflapublichealth.ca or call 613-549-1232 or 1-800-267-7875, ext. 1218.
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