July 12 2019
HAMILTON, ON - Oral health is linked to overall health and is an important health issue for seniors. This is why the City of Hamilton is pleased to receive an investment of $2.2 million from the Ontario government for local implementation of the new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.
The goal of the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program is to help reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital, prevent chronic disease, and increase quality of life for seniors.
This investment will address important community health needs given many Hamilton seniors who need dental care do not have dental insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket costs. Untreated oral health issues such as infection, pain and abscesses can lead to chronic disease and decreased quality of life. As a result, seniors are increasingly seeking dental care from hospital emergency departments rather than seeking preventive and regular dental treatment.
Details on the local launch of the Ontario Seniors Dental Care program will be released in the coming months. Planning for new investments will include exploring opportunities for building on the City of Hamilton’s existing dental health programs as well as partnering with local Community Health Centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres to determine the feasibility of partnerships to increase access to dental health services for the most vulnerable seniors.
Increasing access to dental care not only improves community health and well-being, but directly contributes to achieving Hamilton’s vision to be the best place to raise a child, and age successfully.
- There has been a steady increase in seniors visiting emergency departments for dental care with seniors from low-income areas twice as likely to require emergency department care for dental health than seniors from high-income areas.
- An estimated 10,230 seniors with low income in Hamilton may be eligible for this program in the future.
- Income eligibility for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program: single seniors will be $19,300 and for a couple less than $32,300.
- In 2018, the City of Hamilton dental clinic and dental health bus provided 1014 appointments for 490 seniors.
- Public Health dental hygienists working together with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario conduct outreach in local long-term care facilities to support frontline workers in oral health promotion and improve quality of care for residents.