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Giving More Kids Access to Free Dental Care Ontario Expands Healthy Smiles Program

PICKERING-SCARBOROUGH EAST - As of April 1, 70,000 more kids from low-income families can get dental services including regular cleanings, diagnostics and treatment through the newly expanded Healthy Smiles Ontario program.

"Tooth decay can have a tremendous impact on a child’s health and their sense of well-being. It is also entirely preventable. The expansion of Ontario's Healthy Smiles Program gives more children access to the dental care they need for a healthy future" said Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East.

Over 460,000 children are now eligible for dental treatment through the province's low-income dental programs. Starting August 2015, six publicly funded dental programs will be integrated into one program to provide seamless enrolment and make it easier for eligible children and youth to receive the dental care they need. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care announced: "We’re expanding Healthy Smiles Ontario because we know good oral health is an important component of overall health and will help our kids grow into healthy adults.”

Providing more children and youth with access to free dental care supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care by delivering the right care, at the right time and in the right place.

• Expanding dental care to low-income children and youth is part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
• One out of five Ontarians cite cost as a barrier to visiting a dentist.
• Other recent initiatives that will help Ontario’s kids grow up healthier, include:
  • Introducing legislation that, if passed, will post calorie information on menus of large chain restaurants;
  • Creating more than 200 new breakfast and morning meal programs over two years to serve 33,000 additional children and youth in high-needs communities;
  • Banning the use of tanning beds for youth under the age of 18; and
  • Helping children eat better and get more active through the province-wide Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East
Ryan Pyne, Executive Assistant to MPP MacCharles
300 Kingston Road, Unit 7, Pickering, ON  L1V 6Z9
Tel 905-509-0336

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