We know that Canadians who do not have access to regular dental care experience poor oral health. And while this reality reflects only a minority of Canadians, it is imperative that the dental profession advocates for improved access to care on their behalf.
The CDA uses the National Coordinating Group on Access to Care in order to focus on issues faced by children and seniors:
The CDA supports a first visit with a dentist by 12 months of age (or within 6 months of first tooth eruption) to help reduce early childhood caries. A child's first visit by age one is critical for the early diagnosis and prevention of dental decay and to instil the importance of daily oral hygiene and regular professional dental care.
The National Coordinating Group on Access to Care produced an advocacy toolkit that can be used by dentists who advocate for improving dental conditions for seniors in long-term care facilities. The kit contains sample draft legislation, a guide on conducting political meetings, a sample op-ed for newspapers and leave-behind documents for meetings.
In the coming years, the group plans on leveraging that work by collaborating with other stakeholders on seniors' issues and focusing on working with long-term care facilities to improve their oral health standards.