Sadly, Dr. Sloane Freeman knows this all too well.
“We need to do more as a society to protect our most vulnerable population – children – from low-income households,” said Dr. Sloane Freeman. “I think that providing access to children 17 and under who do not have access to any form of dental coverage is a great start.”
Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team at 80 Bond St. to announce that Ontario is expanding eligibility for free dental care to 70,000 more children in youth in low-income families.
A pediatrician who also practices in an inner-city elementary school in Toronto, Dr. Freeman provides medical care to disadvantaged children through a program that is the first of its kind.
The program launched at Sprucecourt Public School in the backyard of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. It’s had a tremendous response from the community. In fact, the demand was so great in the first year, the clinic started to bus students from nine neighbouring schools.
“Dental problems are associated with a reduction in school attendance and in parental working days and I see this first hand at the schools I work in,” said Dr. Freeman. “Many children attend our school health clinic with oral pain and significant dental related problems.”
In young children, cavities can contribute to poor nutrition, affect their ability to speak clearly and impede the growth of healthy adult teeth.
Today, Ontario’s Deputy Premier Deb Matthews was at St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team at 80 Bond Street to announce that Ontario is expanding eligibility for free dental care to 70,000 more children from low-income families.
“Good oral health is an important component of good overall health,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “That’s why we’ve taken important steps to increase access to free dental services for more kids in low-income families and to make it easier for families to access oral health services.”
Dr. Freeman said that her practice is full of parents who want the best for their children but cannot afford to give it to them. Her patients need free and accessible dental health care including:
- Basic dental examinations
- Oral hygiene instructions
- Routine dental cleanings, including fluoride treatments
- Dental restorative services, including caries detection and treatment
Matthews said that the province will increase access to oral health services such as cleanings, diagnostic services and basic treatment in April 2014.
To hear the audio stream of the entire announcement, visit: http://www.vvcnetwork.ca/moh/20131216/audio.html
About St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.