September 22, 2022 – Ottawa, ON: Today, Dr. Lynn Tomkins, president of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (the Committee) as part of its study on children’s health to make recommendations on improving the oral health outcomes of Canadian children.

Poor oral health strains other parts of the health care system, whether through hospital visits for dental emergencies, or managing the long-term impact of poor oral health on systemic disease. This is particularly the case with children since good childhood oral health serves as a foundation for the rest of a person’s life.

Canadians visit the dentist on a regular basis; however, children continue to have high rates of oral disease. More than six million Canadians each year avoid visiting the dentist because of cost. Although every province and territory in Canada has a publicly funded dental program for children, these programs vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, leaving significant gaps in oral health care for low-income families.

CDA welcomed the federal government’s commitment in Budget 2022 of a multi-billion dollar, ongoing investment in enhancing Canadians’ access to oral health. This comes after years of CDA encouraging federal investment in dental care. CDA also supports the federal government on phase-one of its plan, which will allow time to consult and collaborate with dentists and all relevant stakeholders on a long-term solution that is a well-informed, targeted, comprehensive and effective approach to improving access to oral health care.

Beyond reducing financial barriers to accessing dental care, additional issues CDA has focused on as part of its recommendations to the Committee include:

  • measures that restrict marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children;
  • the promotion of community water fluoridation;
  • improving access to surgical suites for high needs patients; and
  • the inclusion of oral health in future health research on COVID-19, which will help improve the oral and overall health of Canadian children.

As part of its scope of work, CDA works diligently to ensure that oral health remains a recognizable and significant public health issue and informs key decision-makers about matters that directly impact dentistry and the oral health of the Canadian population. CDA has long advocated for access to dental care and believes that oral health is an essential component of overall health. CDA supports efforts by all levels of government to improve the oral health of Canadians. Learn more about CDA’s advocacy efforts.

View a copy of Dr. Tomkins’ complete written remarks, and the recording of the Committee meeting.