Although health care is a right of citizenship, severe inequities in oral health and access to care persist. This paper provides information on the financing, organization and delivery of oral health services in Canada. It concludes that dental care has largely fallen out of consideration as health care. The increasing costs of dental insurance and disparities in oral health and access to care threaten the system's sustainability. The legislation that allows the insured to receive tax-free care and requires all taxpayers to subsidize that expenditure is socially unjust. Unless an alternative direction is taken, dentistry will lose its relevance as a profession working for the public good and this will be followed by further erosion of public support for dental education and research. However, never before have we had the opportunity presented by high levels of oral health, the extensive resources already allocated to oral health care, plus the support of other organizations to allow us to consider what else we might do. One of the first steps would be to establish new models for the delivery of preventive measures and care that reach out to those who do not now enjoy access.
Why Do We Need an Oral Health Care Policy in Canada?
• James L. Leake, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C) •
A b s t r a c t
MeSH Key Words: Canada; dental health services/utilization; health services accessibility
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