FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 15, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County
We want to hear from you.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is rolling out a survey on the dental health needs of adults and seniors in Windsor and Essex County starting in January. Residents are encouraged to fill out a survey at wedentalsurvey.org or call the Health Unit at 519-258-2146, extension 3212 to have a copy mailed to them in one of the following languages: English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese. The survey is available until March 2, 2018.
From the 2013 Canadian Community Health Survey by Statistics Canada, we know that 35% of local residents 18 years of age and over have reported no form of dental insurance. In addition, 28% of that age group visits the dentist less than once a year for checkups or only for emergencies. That’s almost a third of local adults not getting regular dental care. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit wants to assess the situation in Windsor-Essex.
“The goal of the survey is to learn more about residents’ oral health and issues they face in getting care for their teeth and mouth. We know this issue affects adults and seniors with low income, but we think there is more to it. There may be individuals in our community who may have a job, but don’t have enough dental insurance to cover things like tooth extractions or root canals. There could be retired seniors who don’t have health benefits, as they’re now retired, or individuals on social assistance that may have some coverage, but not enough,” says Shannen Janisse, Health Promotion Specialist. The survey will help capture the current situation and get a better understanding of the local need.
The health unit provides the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, through provincial funding, for children 0 to 17 living in low-income families. But, there are no provincial dental care programs for adults and seniors living in low income families. Programs such as Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provide some coverage, but they don’t often cover the costs of checkups and cleanings and they involve eligibility criteria.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit receives several calls a week from people who can’t afford dental treatment. Some of Ontario’s most vulnerable populations, adults with part-time jobs or minimum wage jobs or retirees are likely the most affected by lack of access to oral health services. The concern is that access to oral health care will become more challenging as the population ages and seniors retire without dental insurance benefits.
Good oral health is linked to good overall health and well-being. Yet, poor oral health is increasingly linked with diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, not to mention low self-esteem, fewer employment opportunities, and higher rates of poverty. This survey is the first step to assessing the need of our community.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (news)